Use of renewable resources to replace petroleum base stocks in lubricants is attractive. Research on additives enhanced by current advances in genetic and chemical modifications has resulted in improved oxidative stability of vegetable oils. Like most oxidation processes, the oxidative degradation of vegetable oils is complex. The auto-oxidation free radical mechanisms and hydroperoxide theories of oxidation have been well studied. Factors that influence the degradation of oils include temperature, surface reactivity, rates of formation of radicals, chemical composition factors such as olefin and aromatic content and additive effectiveness. This uses pressurized differential scanning calorimetry to evaluate the oxidative stability of four biodegradable fluids with and without additives. The oleic acid content of the four fluids ranged from 83 to 23 percent. Reaction kinetics are used to explain observed differences in phase transformation and polymerization reactions. Additive selection to obtain maximum effectiveness in the base stocks is reported.

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