An Introduction to Soluble Cutting Fluids

The choices made for selecting soluble cutting fluids used in metal cutting processes impact on the many aspects of the modern production process.

The health and comfort of operational staff, the manufacturing environment,the machine tool cleanliness,  the quality of components being manufactured, the tool cost, the materials being machined, the disposal costs are all impacted on the correct selection of a soluble cutting fluid.

Types of Soluble Cutting Fluids

There three main groups of soluble cutting fluids:

  • Synthetic
  • Micro Droplet soluble mineral oil emulsions (Semi Synthetic)
  • Mineral oil soluble emulsions (Milky)

Synthetic

These are cutting lubricants which are developed from fully synthetic raw material additives which when mixed in the correct concentration produce clear liquid solutions which carry the desired lubricating properties to the cutting zones. Synthetics are developed for machining Super alloys, wrought aluminium, automotive aluminium, stainless steel, glass, tool steels, carbon and mild steels, hard metals ,ceramics and all types of cast iron.

Synthetic cutting solutions are used in application such as turning, drilling, milling, grinding, tapping, boring, reaming, sawing, slotting and broaching they should be mixed at concentrations between 3-10% depending on the severity of application.

Castrol Syntilo range of synthetics is developed to cover most machining and cutting operations

Micro Droplet soluble mineral oil emulsions (Semi Synthetic)

Translucent emulsions of mineral oil and lubricating additives sometimes incorrectly called semi synthetics because of their translucent opaque appearance they also may have a die added to give specific desired colour. These cutting fluids are developed to produce a micro sized oil droplet. When mixed with water they become emulsions which carry a range of lubricants and extreme pressure additives to the cutting zone these cutting emulsions are used in application such as, turning, drilling, milling, grinding, tapping, boring, sawing, slotting and broaching they should be mixed at concentrations between 5-12% depending on the severity of application.

They are developed for the machining of steels, stainless steels, cast irons and automotive aluminiums. Market demand for technology improvements have lead to creation of cutting fluids which provide improvements in surface finish at lower oil concentrations in the production of holes when using drills reamers and Mapal reamers.

Mineral oil soluble emulsions ( Milky)

A Milky white or creamy emulsion is created when mixed with water these soluble mineral cutting fluids are produced to provide cooling and lubrication of the material at the cutting zone, these cutting emulsions are used in application such as turning, drilling, milling, grinding, tapping, boring, sawing, slotting and broaching they should be mixed at concentrations between 5-12% depending on the severity of application.

They are developed for the machining of steels, stainless steels, cast irons and automotive aluminiums.

Castrol mineral oil cutting fluids

  • Castrol Superedge
  • Castrol Alusol
  • Castrol Clearedge
  • Castrol Hysol
  • Castrol Almaredge
  • Castrol Safetycool
  • Castrol Cooledge

Recommended concentrations for machining applications

Table 1. Recommended concentrations for machining

Turning

Grinding

Tapping

Broaching

Reaming

Aluminium

3-5%

3-5%

5-7%

8-12%

6-10%

Alloy Steel

5-8%

3-5%

7-12%

10-15%

4-8%

Cast Iron

4-7%

3-4%

8-12%

10-15%

4-8%

Stainless Steel

5-9%

4-6%

10-12%

15%

5-9%

Hard Metals

4-6%

2-4%

-

-

-

This information has been sourced, reviewed and adapted from materials provided by Castrol.

For more information on this source, please visit Castrol.

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