Engineers Develop New Method to Measure Metalworking Fluid Resistance to Bacteria

One of the major obstacles in the metalworking fluids industry is how to detect and reduce bacterial contamination. These fluids are used to cool and lubricate machinery, inhibit corrosion and reduce swarf. But once bacterial growth starts in a fluid, it can lead to reduced fluid performance, machine breakdown, and even sick machine operators if they inhale potentially toxic fumes.
A fast but accurate method is needed to evaluate and predict the antibacterial capacity of fluids-but such a tool is currently lacking. A team of veterinary scientists at the University of Gent, in collaboration with Quaker Chemical Corporation, may have found a solution. They have developed a new tool based on flow cytometry (FCM), a cell analysis technique currently used in the medical field. FCM uses a laser to measure the volume of cells in a rapidly moving stream of fluid.

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