Cutting fluids are used in metal machining for a variety of reasons such as improving tool life, reducing workpiece thermal deformation, improving surface finish and flushing away chips from the cutting zone. Practically all cutt ing fluids presently in use fall into one of four categories:

  • Straight oils
  • Soluble oils
  • Semisynthetic fluids
  • Synthetic fluids

Straight oils are non-emulsifiable and are used in machining operations in an undiluted form. They are composed of a base mineral or petroleum oil and often contains polar lubricants such as fats, vegetable oils and esters as well as extreme pressure additives such as Chlorine, Sulphur and Phosphorus. Straight oils provide the best lubrication and the poorest cooling characteristics among cutting fluids.

Synthetic Fluids contain no petroleum or mineral oil base and instead are formulated from alkaline inorganic and organic compounds along with additives for corrosion inhibition. They are generally used in a diluted form (usual concent ration = 3 to 10%). Synthetic fluids often provide the best cooling performance among all cutting fluids.

Soluble Oil Fluids form an emulsion when mixed with water. The concentrate consists of a base mineral oil and emulsifiers to help produce a stable emulsion. They are used in a diluted form (usual concentration = 3 to 10%) and provide good lubrication and heat transfer performance. They are widely used in industry and are the least expensive among all cutting fluids.

Semi-synthetic fluids are esentially combination of synthetic and soluble oil fluids and have characteristics common to both types. The cost and heat transfer performance of semi-synthetic fluids lie between those of synthetic and sol uble oil fluids.