Creation and Treatment of Oily Smoke

Smoke is commonly defined as solid particles in the air that result from combustion or fire. Smoke in most mist collector applications is actually not smoke because there are no solid particles. Smoke, in mist applications, is either submicron oil mist or steam.

Submicron oil mist or oily smoke is generated by heat and/or pressure. In quenching and lubricating a machine tool with straight oil, some portion of the oil evaporates or vaporizes. When it condenses back to a liquid, particles from 0.05 to 1.0 micron are formed. This ultra-fine mist looks and resembles smoke due to the small size of the particles.

In high pressure lubricant systems, also referred to as micro-fog devices, anti-misting agents and chemical bonds that keep mist droplets large are overcome by high pressure, generating liquid particles typically between 0.1 and 1.0 micron in size. This fine mist looks like and resembles smoke as well.

Steam is commonly produced in machining applications involving water soluble coolants. In fact, water is one of the best coolants on the market. When water comes in contact with a hot part, some of the water vaporizes and condenses back as steam.

Whether your application is generating oily smoke or steam, you may have visible “smoke” emissions above your mist collector. Before you add a HEPA or another filter to the system you have, contact your local authorized Trion Representative. They will work with you to determine your best solution and may be able to offer a better alternative.

Oily Smoke Facts

  • Oily smoke is typically submicron mist from 0.05 to 1.0 micron in size.
  • Only a small percentage of oily smoke is in a solid state, commonly referred to as burnt hydrocarbons.
  • Oily smoke can be collected and drained using a good drainable filter or an Electrostatic Precipitator.
  • Oily smoke comes from evaporating and/or burning oils.
  • Steam is not oily smoke. Steam comes from evaporation of water from water soluble coolants or hot processes that use water such as a parts washer or water quench.