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The Feature Creep

Join Date: Feb 2005
Location: Boston, MA
Posts: 990

Snow-machining: Using C02 to replace oils

05/09/2005 11:52 AM

Can CO2 be used to cool and lubricate parts as part of the machining process? Yes, if the folks at University of California and Los Alamos National Laboratory have anything to say about it. The process, called snow-machining, uses a jet of solid carbon dioxide (CO2) to cool/lubricate the surface of metal parts and remove the cut material during machining. It could allow manufacturers to do away with the more than 100 million gallons of metalworking oil and cutting fluids used each year.

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#1

Cost & Time frames

05/09/2005 12:14 PM

I wonder how quickly industry will embrace this technology? What kind of capital investment will be required to make the changeover? Potentially this could put an entire industry (metail working and cutting fluids) out of business.

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Power-User

Join Date: May 2005
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#2
In reply to #1

Re:Cost & Time frames

05/17/2005 1:53 PM

I think it is a really cool technology, but isn't CO2 a greenhouse gas, so the government is sure to step in and regulate it to death. It is also a colorless, odorless, dangerous gas at standard atmospheric pressure and temp. and would be difficult to reclaim and re-use to cut costs. I worked with CO2 in the oilfied, and if liquid CO2 was trapped in one of our lines and not vented immediately it could explode due to the pressure build-up as the liquid went to vapor.

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The Feature Creep

Join Date: Feb 2005
Location: Boston, MA
Posts: 990
#3
In reply to #2

Re:Cost & Time frames

05/20/2005 2:42 PM

I agree that CO2 in quantity is dangerous. The question should be, is it safer for workers and the environment than the fluids currently being used in machining today.
As for reuse, I think it's cheaper to manufacture then to reuse. I would have to see the cost of a one over another in a cost benefit analysis though.

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