Boron Additives

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MolaKule

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Boron Additives By MolaKule This white paper discusses the mechanics and chemistry of Boron Compounds as additives in Motor Oils, Gear Lubes, and Greases. Organic Anti-Wear (AW) and Extreme Pressure (EP) additives act to reduce wear by depositing a surface film due to the mechanism of thermal decomposition. The AW and EP effectiveness is based on the degree of decomposition products in the zone of high friction and heat, thus suffer from thermal instability. Some of the older additives in this classification include: Zinc Dialkyl dithiophosphate or ZDDP, sulfur and phosphorous compounds (S-P), and chlorine and nitrogen (N) containing compounds. There is a class of additives that deposit solid films by the action of “electrophoresis,” which will be explained later. Potassium Triborate (commercially in the form of [K2O (B2O3)3], and Calcium Carbonate (CaCO3), fall into this class of additives that can form a rather tenacious coating on the sliding and shearing surfaces of machine parts. For example, the OilXtreme product usues a special CaCO3 additive in concentrate form. In some cases, the borates are in the form of “Overbased” Borated Sulphonates (OBS’), which of course contain boron, calcium, and sulfur. Some of the TBN’s of the OBS’ can be as high as 370 in the virgin form. These “Overbased” Borated Sulphonates are often added to large batches of oil to reduce the TBN. Some additive companies offer Borate esters which may contain some or all of the above components. For example, R.T Vanderbilt offers the ester flavor of the borates, while the Luboron Company offers their own borate-based products. History: In 1941, it was found that lead napthenates and free sulfurs (Pb-S) could raise the load carrying capabilities of gears and bearings at low speeds because they contributed a solid film of lead sulfate. They could not, however, resist the loading at high speeds, because the film rubbed off faster than the film could be re-deposited. Heat at high loads and speeds also melted away the solid films. Later came the organic Sulfur-Phosphorus (S-P) additives which were found to outperform the Pb-S additives, because they formed films of iron sulfide and iron phosphate through thermal and oxidative decomposition. At high speeds, the films were replenished faster than they could be removed, which was an advantage over the Pb-S additives. In 1967, tribological and chemical studies indicated that AW and EP films could be formed by lubricants containing borates. In 1976, J.H. Adams of the Chevron Research Company, patented a number of Borate Lubricants for Gear Lubricant applications. Since that time, a number of additive companies and internal oil company labs have produced many boron-type additives for gear, engine, and grease applications. Recently, Argonne National Lab’s Tribology Laboratory Section has done extensive studies with Boric Acid (H3BO3). Luboron’s products have arisen from these studies. For gear lubes, the Potassium Triborate is in a finely dispersed form and usually mixed with soluble organic compounds for synergistic effects. While most AW or EP compounds form surface films by thermal decomposition, borate films form by electrostatic attraction, with the metal surface having the opposite charge of the boron particles, which promote a “static cling” effect. Once attracted, the borate films become solid films, and not chemically reacted films. Reduced temperatures of 6-30 C have been noted in gear boxes with these borate additives, and it has been reported that a 1.1% improvement in fuel economy has resulted, compared to the same gearboxes containing S-P additives. For engine oils, there has been a need to reduce the poisoning of the exotic metals in catalytic converters from organic phosphorus compounds, usually due to the phosphorus in ZDDP. Whether this problem is real or perceived, this has led to the reduction of ZDDP and the increased use of non-phosphorus AW and EP additives such as MoTDC, SbDTC, and the Borates. In engine oils, the microparticulate borates are prepared by dissolving an alkali metal borate in the presence of a metal sulfonate and succinimde dispersant to form a micro-emulsion which is then added to a base oil, or as part of an additive package. When an oil uses this additive, an analysis of that oil will show both potassium and boron. The concentration of borate additives is in the range of 0.5% to 2% by weight. Any concentration less than 0.5%, or larger than 2%, shows up as increased wear in the 4-Ball Wear Testing machine. As you can see, additive chemistry is a meticulous balancing act, so as to preclude additive clash. Many lubricating oils and greases now contain borates in various forms to reduce wear by the action of these solid borate films, which act as AW and EP additives. When used with the dithiocarbamate family of antimony’s and moly’s, corrosion and antioxidant resistant greases can be formulated as well to provide the same EP and AW qualities. A side benefit of the borates in motor oils and gear lubricants is their action as mild detergents and as acid reducing agents. Their alkili chemistry helps to retain the oil's TBN, or Total Base Number as well. [ May 19, 2003, 01:37 AM: Message edited by: MolaKule ]
 
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Molakule, Are their any chemical supplie houses that would sell a sane amount's of the common additive that we would use to sweeten oil. I would not want to have 5 gallon drums of antimony, boron, calcium, and moly. I could live with 5 gallon size. I know it is a weird question but i figure some must because oil reclamation is gaining momentum. Thanks!!! P.S. How did the clearance spec.'s for my 4.7L V8 compare to some of your other spec.'s??? [ May 19, 2003, 10:45 AM: Message edited by: JohnBrowning ]
 
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Dr. 'kule, Thanks for taking the time to research and write these. I gain a tremendous amount of knowledge by reading the papers and "adding" them into the UOA report knowledge in my small brain...synergistic I guess [Smile] Sb and B - are "good" additives but there aren't a lot of articles on them, "web" or otherwise - that are a quick read WITH real world experience and history written in. [ May 19, 2003, 11:34 AM: Message edited by: Pablo ]
 

MolaKule

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quote:
Molakule, Are their any chemical supplie houses that would sell a sane amount's of the common additive that we would use to sweeten oil. I would not want to have 5 gallon drums of antimony, boron, calcium, and moly. I could live with 5 gallon size. I know it is a weird question but i figure some must because oil reclamation is gaining momentum.Thanks!!! P.S. How did the clearance spec.'s for my 4.7L V8 compare to some of your other spec.'s???
The answer to the first question is no. Chemical supply houses only supply basic chemicals, not additive quality chemicals. One has to deal with addditive suppliers to get the oil soluble additives one needs. Now in my case, I acquire basic chemicals and make some of my own additives, especially if the addtive type or concentration is not what an additive supplier can supply. The clearance specs were great. I could use one more piece of information, and that is bearing dimensions such as bearing width/length or journal width/length. Now that class is out and my teaching duties are over for a few weeks, I can continue with the study. Thanks Mola [ May 19, 2003, 02:30 PM: Message edited by: MolaKule ]
 
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quote:
Originally posted by MolaKule: Now in my case, I acquire basic chemicals and make some of my own additives, especially if the addtive type or concentration is not what an additive supplier can supply.
I for one suggest you make a few formulas and sell them to BITOG members. *I* would buy almost anything you recommended!
 

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Thanks for the vote Rob. There are a few problems, however with doing so. 1. I would most likely have to be a site "Sponsor," in fairness to all the other site sponsors. While this is not really a problem, I would have to take the time out from teaching and advanced studies to "run" the business. I just don't have the time right now. Maybe in the near future. TooSlick can equate with this as well, I'm sure. 2. At the present time, and when I have time to spare, I formulate lubes for racing teams who sign a legal non-disclosure agreement with a no-fault clause to protect us both. It is understood among all parties that these lubes are experimental and that no gurantees are to made, just as test pilots sign an agreement that the planes they are about to test are experimental and that physics rules in nature. 3. Litigation. While 99.9% of the people here are very honest and forthright (and downright cool), and would love to test and use some "private label" formulations, it was deemed some time ago by Terry, Bob, and myself that this is a bit risky and could be somewhat litigous. A single 0.1% who might want to sue, could potentially ruin a reputation and wipe out an entire business or ones savings through frivilous lawsuits. Now in the future, one of my many plans is to incorporate as a full time formulator and acquire business liability insurance for just those situations. Right now I am happy acting as a consultant on the side, and working full time in aerospace. And my number one priority is my grandchildren (2 1/2 right now). I appreciate your thoughts, however. [Coffee]
 
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quote:
Originally posted by MolaKule: Here is Luboron's site: http://www.Luboron.com/ Considering Chevron pioneered this additive in Gear Lubes, they should have ample expertise formulating these lubes and additives.
I bought a bottle of boron additive, MotorSilk from Advanced Lubrication Technology Inc. It is the same stuff as Luboron. Their MSDS specs are identical. I think they are manufactured by the same company, but in a different labeled bottle (different distributors). I poured a bottle of MotorSilk and 4.5 qrts of M1 SS 10W-30 into my Turbo Eagle Talon. So far I haven't noticed any difference yet. I will have UOA done in 3 months. I am just hoping that it will lower wear number.
 

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TUrbo, We will certainly be interested in seeing the UOA's if you could post them. I have used this company's patented technology for our proprietary gear lubes, and so far, the lube is showing itself to be very robust.
 
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Originally posted by MolaKule: TUrbo, We will certainly be interested in seeing the UOA's if you could post them. I have used this company's patented technology for our proprietary gear lubes, and so far, the lube is showing itself to be very robust.
According to the ALT site, their boron additive forms a permanent bond with the metal surfaces in the engine. Would that be the case with regular motor oils that have boron additives in them?
 

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This is a specially prepared borate compounded in an ester. If one used the additives or technology from this company, the coating "theoretically" should last about 50,000 miles. Does this sound familiar - "a la Militec(k)?"
 
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quote:
Originally posted by MolaKule: This is a specially prepared borate compounded in an ester. If one used the additives or technology from this company, the coating "theoretically" should last about 50,000 miles.
Okay, but what about the borate additives in synthetic oils like Mobil 1? Do they "bond" with the metal and stay there?
 

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One piece of literature said this,"..boron separated out from potassium borate and permeated into the steel surface region to form an interstitial compound - FexBy." The same paper also said that the effect is more pronounced if the KB was placed in an ester or polymerized surfactant. So the answer is Yes! Now this begs the question: Why ZDDP and Moly if the Boron is so good by itself? Again, the answer is that each AW additive works in differing mechanical regimes at different temperatures and pressures. It appears that Boron seems to work best in the sliding and shearing areas of machines, such as piston rings and pistons, and in the case of gear lubes, the shearing forces from gear teeth. One trend I have noted is that one sees less aluminum in used oil analysis with the Borate additives present.
 
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MoLaKuLe; I threw out the question in the motorcycle forum if anyone had tried Esso's essolube 2243 in their engine/trans combo applications. No response. I just found this thread and just thought I'd let you know that I love barium compounded lubricants in motorcycle transmissions, and transmission/engine shared lubricant applications. Sue me!
 

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Thanks, but are you referring to Boron or Barium? BTW, Calcium Borates are gaining polularity as part of the Boron family of additives. These should show up as low potassium, high-calcium/high-boron ppms in UOA's. They are used primarily as detergents in fully formulated oils, but are found to be anti-oxidation, anti-corrosion, and anti-wear agents. In addition, they provide a very stable and robust TBN. [ June 10, 2003, 03:42 PM: Message edited by: MolaKule ]
 

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Update on Potassium levels in PCMO's: One of the newer additives that has come on the scene is the Borates, http://theoildrop.server101.com/ubb/ultimatebb.php?ubb=get_topic;f=4;t=000177#000000 which are added to the oil in various compounds, that is, molecular mixtures of borates with other elements. One of those compounds is Potassium Borate, in which the alkili metal Potassium is linked by polymerization, to the non-metallic Boron atom. I believe this is where the elevated Potassium levels are originating. The Potassium helps to boost the tbn (along with the overbased calcium detergent) and of course, Boron is a good AW/FM element as well.
 
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In Mobil 1 EP, they are now using around 275 ppm of Boron. Is it possible then that Mobil 1 EP's frictional abilities are improved? They seem to be relying more on Boron then any other oil right now. So far people are noticing (not scientifically) increased HP and quieter engines using this new oil. [I dont know]
 
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