MPRC Bio-Fuel Test
To cover our recent test and findings, we need to briefly identify what a Bio-Fuel is:
Bio-Fuels- unlike other renewable energy sources, come from biomass such as plant or animal waste. A Bio-Fuel comes from the conversion of this waste into a liquid fuel, used to meet transportation fuel needs. There are two common types of Bio-Fuels: Ethanol and Bio-Diesel.
Ethanol: A Bio-fuel as it is normally made from corn, although sugar cane is also used, mostly in South America. Blended with gasoline, it increases octane and cuts down carbon monoxide and other smog-causing emissions.
Bio-Diesel: Combined with alcohol, it is a liquid fuel produced from renewable sources such as new and used vegetable oils and animal fats or cooking grease, and is a cleaner-burning replacement for petroleum-based diesel fuel. It’s also non-toxic and biodegradable, and is a cleaner-burning fuel than diesel, eliminating much of the particulate matter that goes out of the exhaust including hydrocarbons, carbon monoxide, and others. Bio-fuels also give a cleaner burn over regular gas, although they do emit about the same amount of CO2 as gas.
Simply put- you can’t use just any O-ring or rubber material when it comes to Bio-Fuels. For example, the aggressive, contaminated Bio-fuel attacks hydrocarbon rubbers such as nitrile rubber, widely used in fuel handling hose, gaskets, and seals. MPRC recommends selecting a Viton Fluoro-Hydrocarbon Elastomer (FKM) for Bio-Fuel service. Of all the testing of various Viton compounds in Bio-Fuels, results have shown that Viton has excellent compatibility with Bio-Diesel (both fresh and contaminated), and has a high resistance to permeation and chemical attack by alcohol, pure ethanol, and blends of ethanol with hydrocarbon fuel.
Just the other day, the team at MPRC was discussing Bio-Fuels and the effect that Bio-Fuels have on Elastomers. Then I remembered something really neat that we did years ago, that I hoped was still around- somewhere. Much to my surprise, it was!
In 2008, we started a test on some O-rings and grommets designed and formulated in our yellow Viton “B” compound. We had acquired some Bio-Diesel from a local company that is unfortunately no longer in business, but they used to offer classes on how to produce Bio-Diesel and even sold equipment to do so.
We decided to place two of our head gasket grommets and a few O-rings into the Bio-Diesel and let it sit- and that we did. I had for the most part forgotten about this, but our discussion earlier this week made me remember. Finally, after sitting in a jar for that long, it was time to remove the items and see how they measured up against the Bio-Diesel.
I don’t know a whole lot of products these days that can say they’ve held up to something like a Bio-Diesel for 14 years- but ours did!
Here are our specific findings:
After removing each item from the Bio-Diesel jar, we carefully inspected and checked the dimensional tolerances. MPRC carefully checked the inner and outer diameter of each item in addition to the overall hardness of each material. To our surprise, ALL of the items remained well within the proper dimensional tolerance/spec. Not only that, but on a few of the items, you can still see the “MPRC” that is raised and embossed into the molded ring very clearly and without any distortion. NOTE: There is a small chunk taken out of the more faded yellow grommet. This is not due to anything relating to Bio-Diesel. MPRC removed a small piece of the grommet to send for testing and lab analysis on the original compound.
Call us hoarders of our precious little Bio-Diesel container, but we like to think of ourselves as brilliant scientists who have made an incredible breakthrough. We’re kidding, of course. We think we do a pretty good job of being fluid sealing specialists, however, and doing fun little science experiments like this to see how our products hold up is a lot of fun. Call us today and see how we can assist you with your fluid sealing needs!
**References: “Biofuel Basics”– Office of Energy Efficiency & Renewable Energy, Bioenergy Technologies Office**