Environmental Standards for Biodegradable Hydraulic Fluids and Correlation of Laboratory and Field Performance
Biodegradable hydraulic fluids have been introduced relatively recently and, initially, acceptable environmental performance and technical performance were neither well specified or controlled. Over the past few years, many standards and specifications have been written, especially in the area of biodegradability and ecotoxicity. Technical performance test requirements are emerging more slowly, however, and there is still some doubt over appropriate tests and limits for some performance areas. The proliferation of standards is confusing to both the product developer and fluid user. This paper summarizes the common biodegradability and ecotoxicity elements in the main environmental performance standards. It also discusses appropriate laboratory performance tests for oxidation stability, hydrolytic stability and wear, and sets acceptable limits in these tests, based on correlation of lab and field performance of two synthetic ester based hydraulic fluids.