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The Devil and the Deep Blue Sea

Posted by Alexandra Länsberg on Apr 29, 2014 9:15:44 AM

Lithium, or rather the lack of it, is a subject of deep concern for many grease manufacturers. What if there is a world shortage due to its use in other applications such as car batteries or nuclear fuel?  We may not need to look any further than to the deep blue sea, all according to an interesting article in the April 2014 edition of Chemical Engineering. Japanese scientists are seemingly investigating a method of recovering lithium from seawater while simultaneously generating electricity. The same researchers are planning to build a pilot plant to recycle lithium from batteries and recover lithium and other minerals from desalination brine. So we may no longer have to rely on the national treasures of South America. And there may still be hope for Clarence Earle´s invention, and for many grease makers.

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Lies, bloody lies & statistics

Posted by Alexandra Länsberg on Apr 4, 2014 6:05:16 AM

In an extremely interesting article by Lisa Tocci in the April 2014 issue of Lubes´n´Greases entitled “Is this sustainable?” she refers to a presentation made in Esslingen recently by Lutz Lindemann of Fuchs Petrolube. He reported that lubricants consumption worldwide remained essentially unchanged over the past year despite a general global production growth of around 2%. The world’s vehicle population has increased dramatically over the years while the average volume of lubricants consumed per car has fallen sharply. So, while economists are now expecting global GDP to expand by some 3.6% in 2014, how will this relate to our lubricating greases?  A difficult equation to solve!  It does mean however that a lower volume of grease is seemingly doing a very good job and that the value of grease (per kilo) should be much greater.

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God Afton (good evening in Swedish)

Posted by Alexandra Länsberg on Mar 28, 2014 6:35:55 AM

I am told that there is no such thing as a free lunch. But how about a free ad ??  I believe it is always better when “somebody else” promotes your product rather than having to praise it all by yourself.  This very morning, I received a copy of a new and “comprehensive guide to grease” issued by Afton Chemical. This is an attractive and very illustrative handbook dealing not only with technical aspects but also market analyses and the impact of key trends on grease. I was however very surprised to see some specific items being mentioned in the chapter on grease thickeners. There are sections on simple soaps and complex soaps but even on an AXEL speciality, so-called “functional thickeners”. And not only that, a description of lithium bismuth complex greases. And this is indeed an AXEL exclusive technology. It is the basis of our “DubBiLit” product portfolio, using bismuth 12-hydroxy stearate as an integral part of the soap structure. In the context of REACH, AXEL has, in sole majesty, notified this material at ECHA under Directive 67/548/EEC (also called NONS) and has received a recognised notification number. So nobody else should be producing or importing this material into the European Union (legally that is !!).

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It's not going to happen !!

Posted by Alexandra Länsberg on Mar 17, 2014 9:03:04 AM

It’s election year here in Sweden and all the different political parties are already trying to surpass each other in what they can offer. And with very few exceptions, it’s all about “growth”. In order to create prosperity and jobs, our industries and institutions need to grow. However, even if we want to look the other way, we must begin to realise that our beloved Earth is already “full”. We are already operating at more than 140% capacity and we are now planning to run the economy faster and harder. It is not possible to have nine billion people in a growing quantitative economy. Given that we have limited resources and wealth and can’t grow either significantly, we have to share. And everything needs to be recycled. There is quite simply not enough arable land to be able to produce enough food for 9 billion people in addition to all the renewable materials required for power generation (energy), industry (products) and also wood to burn to be able to remove excess CO2 from our atmosphere.

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The Rheology of Life

Posted by Alexandra Länsberg on Mar 10, 2014 4:26:12 AM

Stress, strain and time are the three cardinal parameters of material flow and these are the basis of what has come to be better known in the grease industry as rheology. Everything flows; it’s just that some things take a little longer. In the book of Judges 5:5, the song of the prophetess Deborah tells us that “the mountains flowed before the Lord”.  Whether Deborah understood the gift of divine patience or whether the Good Lord knew that higher temperatures can bring material response into the window of observation remains unknown.

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There´s a first time for everything

Posted by Alexandra Länsberg on Feb 20, 2014 5:57:08 AM

Just back from India and contemplating all the different impressions we had the privilege of experiencing and with emphasis on “different”.  Soaking up the Indian culture is like filling your cup to overflow.  There´s just so much to learn!

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Incredible India

Posted by Alexandra Länsberg on Feb 13, 2014 7:53:57 AM

You have to travel to India not to understand! What an amazing place when it comes to breath-taking natural scenery, to the architecture, to all the different cultures, languages and religions, not forgetting the succulent and mouth-watering food. And, of course, all the wonderful people! Everyone we met while on business in Mumbai, Delhi and Chandigarh last week were open, intelligent, warm-hearted and extremely generous.

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All roads lead to Grease?

Posted by Alexandra Länsberg on Jan 23, 2014 9:47:41 AM

Why do all roads lead to grease? Association is a powerful process in the human brain and it´s hardly surprising, after more than 40 years in the business, that all rain finishes up in the same loch (this is described very well in Edward DeBono´s “stone logic”).  But, unlike Greece, it gets really cold up here in Greaseland.  Yesterday, the alcohol dropped to -43oC in Karesuando on the 68th latitude. People actually live there! Check the map to see where you can find the 68th latitude.

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The human brain is indeed a maze(-ing)

Posted by Alexandra Länsberg on Jan 16, 2014 2:45:07 AM

Arthur Smith, my old Latin master, taught me many words of wisdom. He claimed that the human brain is just like an attic where we store all our knowledge and experiences. Nothing ever “disappears” completely; it just gets hidden away in some dark corner up there, somewhere behind the cobwebs. You go looking for a Latin verb and what do you find?  The atomic weight of polonium!

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