More Chemistry for the Lube Addicted

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  • Last Post 29 August 2016
Eutectic posted this 26 August 2016

The properties of lube ingredients fall into several broad classes:   Polar compound -- a chemical compound whose molecules exhibit electrically charged characteristics. Polar compounds are used as additives in many petroleum products. Polar molecules have a strong affinity for solid surfaces; as lubricant additives, polar molecules plate out on metal to form a tenacious, friction-reducing, and corrosion inhibiting film. Examples: Animal and vegetable waxes like beeswax, castor wax, carnauba wax and jojoba oil. Oxidized petroleum products: Alox 2138F, Alox 350,   Non-polar compound -- a chemical compound whose molecules exhibit electrically neutral characteristics. Examples: hydrocarbon compounds like paraffin, microcrystalline wax, petroleum oils and petroleum greases such as Vaseline.     Polar/Non-Polar compounds ”€œ compounds which have a polar segment on one end and a non-polar segment on the other. These dual-nature compounds are able to form a bridge between two dissimilar components. The most familiar are soaps and detergents, which have a non-polar oil soluble end and a polar water soluble end; because of this they are able to bring oil droplets into suspension in water. In lubricants, soaps and detergents act as emulsifiers, mixing normally immiscible waxes and oils. Some soaps have very high melting points, which can be an advantage in bullet lubricant applications.   Examples: Some familiar soap containing lubes are Emmert Lube (sodium soap), LEE Liquid Alox (calcium soap), and lithium grease/beeswax. Lithium grease is a mixture of lithium soap and mineral oil.   Solid ingredients ”€œ Maintain their particulate nature and do not dissolve in the melted lubricant and are generally non-polar Since some are used in high temperature, high pressure steel bearing applications, they have been used in a variety of homemade and commercial lubricants. They maintain their particulate nature when in the lubricant and may require constant mixing to keep them suspended as the lubricant hardens.   Examples: Motor Mica, Teflon, graphite, molybdenum disulfide and powdered polyethylene.   A Good Idea Gone Bad Soaps and detergents are very polar and I thought should make good lubricants. It appears, just like solid ingredients, you can have too much of a good thing. I wanted to replace liquid Alox with something which does not smell and would be easy to clean up, a water based lube.  To get lube ingredients into water emulsion a lot (30 -50% by weight) soap is needed. This should be OK because the soap would also be a lube right?  Wrong, it turns out you get nasty hard deposits, which make leading WORSE. The deposits are probably metal carbonates, sodium carbonate is washing soda and calcium carbonate is limestone. The limit to metal content in bullet lubricants is low, which is why liquid Alox and lithium grease work.   Steve 

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Ed Harris posted this 26 August 2016

Excellent! You REALLY should combine and send your lube treatise to Glenn Latham for publication in The Fouling Shot!

73 de KE4SKY In Home Mix We Trust From the Home of Ed's Red in "Almost Heaven" West Virginia

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RicinYakima posted this 26 August 2016

I agree. I buy lube, or rather bought lube as there is enough under the bench to last more than my lifetime. If you would want a recommendation; half beeswax and half lithium auto chassis grease is as good as anything out there up to 1800 f/s from my testing years ago.

Thank you for trying the metal soap trail, as I often wondered about it, Glad you did it and not me.

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Eutectic posted this 29 August 2016

I plan to put it in the FS. I also am writing an addendum to Ralphs lube list which will be finished in a few weeks.

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