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Metalworking Fluids, Not for Dummies


As a specialized practitioner with metalworking fluids, I am comfortable discussing their health and safety and regulatory aspects. Although I am not a microbiologist, my biology training helps me understand topics related to biocides and microbial control. However, since I am not an engineer by either training nor aptitude, my eyes have glazed dozens of times in my career when others talk about torque, fluid flow, pressure and fluid properties. Sometimes, when I am the only one in the room who knows anything about machining and metalworking fluids, I struggle to recall even the basic tenets of the physics and engineering. So I was happy to hear an updated edition of Metalworking Fluids, edited by Jerry P. Byers of Milacron Inc., was available. Was there finally a reference to help me fill in the gaps? I was not disappointed.

This second edition, co-published by CRC Press and the Society of Tribologists and Lubrication Engineers, has 17 chapters covering metalworking and metalworking fluids in detail. Each includes many photographs, diagrams, graphs and data tables, and is highly referenced – important to any reader who needs more details on a topic. The books glossary of more than 400 terms and definitions is another plus.

The work opens with Jeanne McCoys introduction on the history of machining and metalworking fluids – well written and simply fascinating. The initial chapters then focus on metallurgy and various cutting, grinding and forming processes. Where the text gets highly technical there is usually a diagram to help explain the point.

Chapter five discusses the chemistry of metalworking fluids and chapter six deals with the laboratory methods to test and predict fluid performance. Both are comprehensive. These chapters are targeted to fluid formulators but will be useful for all technical disciplines.

The books next section deals with practical machine shop issues regarding metalworking fluid. There is much useful information here and plenty of suggestions for control strategies and problem-solving in the chapters on corrosion control by Giles Becket, microbial contamination (Frederick Passman), and filtration (Robert Brandt). Greg Foltzs chapter on fluid management complements this information with emphasis on practical methodology and a long list of troubleshooting suggestions. This is logically followed by chapters on fluid recycling and waste treatment.

Four chapters cover health, safety and regulatory aspects. The history of the health issues is given in clear detail, including the cancer epidemiology data. This section is well written and gives the opportunity for readers to draw their own conclusions. The possible sources of carcinogenic activity are discussed succinctly, and authors John Howell, William Lucke and Eugene White clearly make the point that any carcinogenic risk should be steadily declining with the evolutionary modernization of fluid over the past decades. These chapters provide an excellent resource on this controversial subject – although a few could have presented more data in figures and tables, and were a bit short on subheadings to aid the reader.

The real test of a reference work is how well it helps you in a research project. I am involved in project regarding mist generation so I put Chapter 16, written by three experts from General Motors, to the test. It started with a short and understandable section on the physics of mist generation and particle size. Next came a short but comprehensive description of pertinent indoor air regulations. This was followed by a logical and well-written description of the factors affecting mist generation. The chapter ends with an organized discussion of control measures, with graphs illustrating the efficiencies of the various options. The chapter will be a great help in educating my project team. Even the reference list was quite complete; I sent it to my library services contractor to update my own collection.

The last chapter, by Lloyd Lazarus, offers a detailed discussion of all the sources of cost in the use of metalworking fluids. Although it does not contain many figures or references, the chapter does not seem to miss a topic of importance. If a machine shop manager read this with pencil and paper at hand, an excellent checklist could be created effortlessly.

Byers book quite simply is indispensable for anyone involved in the technical or management areas concerned with machining or metalworking fluids. For the expert reader, the detail is superb and there is not a wasted or repetitious page throughout. The novice reader will not be lost and will find something helpful on any topic. I know my copy will get a lot of use.

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