Metalworking Fluids (MWFs) have a history of harming the environment and the health of workers, resulting in pressures to re-design them in accordance with sustainable manufacturing principles. In this paper, we review research being performed at the University of Michigan to minimise the life cycle environmental and health impacts of MWFs while simultaneously improving manufacturing performance. We highlight research contributions in the following areas: formulation design; biological sensors; advanced recycling; the use of supercritical fluids. We conclude that it is possible to design more sustainable metalworking fluid systems either by extending dramatically the in-use lifetime of water-based MWFs or better yet by switching to gas-based Minimum Quantity Lubrication (MQL) systems.
Keywords: metalworking fluids, sustainable MWFs, life cycle assessment, LCA, minimum quantity lubrication, gas-based MQL, vegetable-based lubricants, supercritical carbon dioxide, biological sensors, sustainable manufacturing, sustainability, formulation design, advanced recycling, supercritical fluids