Re-Refining of Used Lubricating Oil by Solvent Extraction.
Lube oils are viscous fluids used to reduce friction and damage between two surfaces in contact with each other. One of the largest uses of lube oil is the protection of the internal combustion engines in motor vehicles and in mechanical equipment. After several uses the used oil becomes filled with many contaminants such as iron, sulfur, water, degradation by-products, and dirt. Furthermore, the change in the organic constituents of the lube oil affects its performance. The disposal of used oil is an environmental concern due to the hazardous compounds which had been added or produced during their use (heavy metals, chlorine, and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons), their toxicity and unfavorable effects on environment and humans. A recycling process based on the extraction of used lube oil by a suitable mixture of solvents to produce a lubricant free of contaminants, was studied in this work. Many parameters have been studied such as the type of the solvent and the solvent to oil ratio. Experimental assays showed that the best oil recovery percentages (based on percent sludge removal and percent oil loss) and ash reduction were obtained using an optimum of solvent to oil ratio equal to 3:1 and a solvent composite mixture consisting of an equal amount of heptane, methanol and butanol. The results showed also that 84.8% of ash reduction and 67% of oil yield were obtained using this mixture with the optimal condition of solvent to oil ratio. The process was successfully simulated using Aspen plus software and the stream results obtained from Aspen plus showed a good agreement with the experimental results.
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