Metalworking Additives



Lubrizol provides a wide range of products to its customers in the metalworking industry. These products utilize proven technologies to meet global technical, environmental and product registration requirements. These products enable customers to meet the growing performance demands in the industrial marketplace.


ALOX® and LOCKGUARD™ products are primarily used to provide metal protection, one of the two main functions of metalworking additives. Metal protection fluids are designed to offer temporary (days or months) protection against corrosion to metal parts after machining or forming. Selected ADDCO™, AQUALOX™ and BECROSAN™ additives are used in metal processing, the other main function of metalworking additives. These products are employed as corrosion and stain inhibitors in metal processing fluids for applications such as metal removal and forming operations. SYN-ESTER™ and VEG-ESTER™ as well as other ADDCO and BECROSAN products impart lubricity to metalworking compositions. Because metalworking fluids contain water, they are a habitat for microbial (bacteria, fungi, molds and yeasts) growth. These microbes can not only reduce the useful life of the metalworking fluid, but can also pose a threat to human health. A number of CONTRAM products are used to control the growth of these microorganisms and are registered in certain countries. Additional registration information is described below.

Physical and Chemical Properties

ALOX and LOCKGUARD rust preventatives contain petroleum oxidates, calcium and barium oxidate salts, and calcium and barium sulfonates. ADDCO, AQUALOX and BECROSAN corrosion and stain inhibitors are primarily based on amine carboxylate and amine borate chemistries. SYN-ESTER and VEG-ESTER products are high molecular weight polymeric esters, the latter derived from vegetable-based renewable resources. Water-based soluble oils are "milky" emulsions containing a high content of oil. Semi-synthetic emulsions are usually transparent due to lower oil content and smaller oil droplet size. Color and viscosity vary depending on the product. Some products are designed to be water soluble or dispersible and others to be oil soluble.

Health Effects 

With the exception of CONTRAM bactericides, which are designed to kill microbes, all of these products generally have a low acute toxicity. A number of products are skin, eye and respiratory irritants. Several CONTRAM products are corrosive to the skin and eyes. A few products may cause chronic health effects following repeated, long-term exposure.

Environmental Effects 

The environmental hazards and the availability of data vary depending on the product. Many products are designed to be resistant to chemical and biological degradation, enabling a longer fluid lifetime and thus less frequent disposal and conservation of natural resources. However, the ability of the additives to biodegrade varies depending on the product. Some products, particularly those designed to emulsify oils, exhibit a higher level of toxicity to aquatic organisms and, therefore, are of greater concern should they be inadvertently released in large amounts to the environment.

Regulatory Information 

As noted in Lubrizol material safety data sheets, many Lubrizol metalworking products have gained acceptance in major industrialized countries through global notifications. These products are not regulated by any jurisdiction's transportation rules unless shipped at elevated temperatures. Bactericides, however, are highly regulated substances that require a thorough evaluation of their human health and environmental effects and efficacy for approval by the local competent authorities for their use. A number of CONTRAM products have been approved for use as biocides in various countries. CONTRAM products have been notified under the Biocide Products Directive in Europe and CONTRAM ST-1 is in the process of FIFRA registration in the United States. CONTRAM products currently cannot be sold for use as a biocide in the US or Canada. Details on specific registrations are provided in product literature and the MSDS.

Exposure Potential 

ADDCO, ALOX, AQUALOX, BECROSAN, CONTRAM, LOCKGUARD, SYN-ESTER and VEG-ESTER products are sold to industrial customers who formulate metalworking fluids and lubricants. Workers in these industrial exposure scenarios can be exposed to these products via dermal and inhalation routes. Many operations generate some degree of aerosol mists that increase the potential for inhalation exposure. Since the formulated products contain low levels of these additives, the exposure potential for professional workers is generally low to moderate. The extent of exposure varies depending on whether the metalworking fluid is used in an open or enclosed system and whether anti-mist additives such as ADDCO LoMist D are used. SYN-ESTER and VEG-ESTER products provide an alternative to chlorinated paraffin chemistry for most applications.

Risk Management 

Information on the safe handling of these products is provided to workers who make the products and who formulate metalworking fluids and lubricants through dissemination of material safety data sheets. These documents provide a broad range of safety information including hazard warnings and risk management measures. They note engineering controls, work practices and personal protective equipment that are needed during the manufacture and formulation to control exposures. Good industrial hygiene practices and personal protective equipment are best used to avoid skin contact.


ADDCO, ALOX, AQUALOX, BECROSAN, CONTRAM, LOCKGUARD, SYN-ESTER and VEG-ESTER products are designed to meet a wide range of performance needs. Their excellent physical and functional properties make them ideal for use in metalworking fluids and lubricants. The human and environmental hazards vary depending on the product. Some are more acutely toxic than others and pose specific chronic health concerns if the potential for repeated exposures is not controlled. Many products have gained acceptance in major industrialized countries, while the use of highly regulated CONTRAM™ bactericides is limited to countries where they are registered for specific applications. The use of engineering controls, personal protective equipment and spill prevention procedures is key to risk management.