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All you need to know about coolant

Coolant is of prime importance when it comes to maintaining efficiency and performance, but there are various types available from respected oil manufacturers such as Fuchs, Houghton and Mobil. Just how important is the use of a reliable coolant formula? This guide aims to help clarify exactly what coolant does – and the kinds of engines and machinery that require it.

What is coolant?

Coolant does pretty much what you’d expect – it has a cooling effect and thus stops machinery or engines from becoming overheated. The best-known type is that used for vehicles, and such coolants typically contain a combination of antifreeze and water. As well as ensuring that the water within your car or van’s radiator doesn’t evaporate or reach boiling point during hot weather, coolant also prevents the system from freezing in cold conditions.

How does coolant work?

A typical coolant might comprise roughly equal amounts of water and antifreeze. The coolant works by raising water’s boiling point. Instead of boiling at 100℃, water will boil at over 240℃, and rather than freezing at 0℃ it will not freeze until it reaches about -37℃. Coolant is thus a specially formulated product that will lower the freezing point and raise the boiling point of any liquid that is water-based.

Why is coolant important?

Coolant helps to protect machinery and engines by preventing them from overheating or freezing. This lessens the risk of damage as well as ensuring a reliable performance, even when used for extreme temperature operations or environments.

What other types of coolant exist?

Passenger and commercial vehicles use coolant, and these examples would probably be the first to spring to mind when the average person thinks of coolant, but coolant is used with other equipment and machines too. Examples include machine tool and metal grinding coolants.

Examples include Houghton Metalina D299, a water miscible coolant with a synthetic base that is recommended for use during operations such as the cylindrical and surface grinding of ferrous and cast-iron metals.

A Fuchs product – Ecocool A Ultralife Plus – is a boron- and FAD biocide-free formula that is semi-synthetic. This coolant is particularly is well suited to processes such as machining stainless steel or aluminium castings for automobiles. The formula has been specially made to prolong tool life as well as maximising performance and reliability. The use of this coolant can lead to an improved
surface finish when applied with a range of non-ferrous and ferrous feedstocks, including yellow metal.

Mobil offers its Machine Tool Long Life Coolant. This product contains a combination of deionised water and corrosion inhibiting fluid, and is design to ensure a high level of resistance to corrosive substances. This particular formula is ideal for use with machine tool spindle systems.

Using dipsticks to check coolant

A coolant’s likely effectiveness can be checked by using dip slides, which are specially coated plastic sticks. The stick can be incubated after dipping to monitor microbial growth on the sterile culture medium that coats the stick. This gives the user some idea of the coolant’s bacterial condition, so they can decide whether or not the fluid needs replacing.

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