When to use PFPE oil for an oil-sealed rotary vane vacuum pump?

PFPE oil for an oil-sealed rotary vane vacuum pump

This article is to introduce when to PFPE oil for an oil-sealed rotary vane vacuum pump.

There’s no problem to use an oil-sealed rotary vane vacuum pump to displace air with 21% oxygen concentration.

In some cases, the oil-sealed pump is used to displace pure oxygen or oxygen concentration greater than 25%. The mineral oil produces oil mist during pump operation and it becomes explosive with combination of pure oxygen. If the pump has no explosion-proof design, there’s a simple solution to solve such problem: to fill the pump with PFPE oil.

Perfluoropolyether fluids (PFPE Oils) are synthetic fully fluorinated materials used as lubricants and coatings in the most extreme & critical lubrication applications. (Source: PFPE Fluorinated Oils – IKV Lubricants)

Here’re the features of PFPE oil:

  • Non-flammable, chemically inert and thermally stable
  • Excellent lubrication
  • Low vapor pressure
  • Long service life

The disadvantages however, are as clear as its features:

  • Extremely expensive
  • The oil contains fluoride, which may form toxic compounds to cause serious accidents.
  • Costly to dispose of the used oil as hazardous waste

When handling PFPE oil, keep it away from open fires. During thermal decomposition at temperature over 290°C, toxic and corrosive gasses will be released.

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