Metalworking Fluids

Metalworking fluids are used in the metal production industry to cool and lubricate tools used for cutting or stamping metal. In addition, the fluids contain corrosion inhibitors to keep the metal pristine. As metalworking fluids flow away from the cutting point, they remove metal chips and shavings.

Initially, all metalworking fluids were made mostly of petroleum or vegetable oil and were used only one time. Purchasing and disposing of the fluid created high costs, both financially and environmentally. Now, many manufacturers recycle their metalworking fluids back into their machining process using some type of filtration or centrifugal method to remove contaminants. Additionally, many manufacturers have switched to semisynthetic or synthetic metalworking fluids, which tend to have a longer service life and lower biological growth rates because of the reduced or eliminated organic content in the metalworking fluids.

ISTC's technical assistance and research staff collaborated with industry partners on several projects in this area during the late 1990s and early 2000s. These projects resulted in a number of published research papers. View this collection of metalworking fluid research in ISTC's research archive.