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Banana Skins – their promise as an industrial lubricant additive

The work of Kiyoshi Mabuchi, Kensei Tanaka, Daichi Uchijima and Rina Sakai, who were awarded the 2014 Ig Nobel Physics Prize for measuring the amount of friction between a shoe and a banana skin, and between a banana skin and the floor, when a person steps on a banana skin that’s on the floor, continues to gain traction. (See ‘Frictional Coefficient under Banana Skin’, Tribology Online, 7, no. 3, 2012, pp. 147-151.) It’s cited by A. H. Hamid et al. of the Universiti Teknikal Malaysia Melaka, in a new study which examines the potential of banana skin as a lubricant additive for machinery :

“Banana skin has been often referred as slipping tools by the literature. Previous study had showed that coefficient of frictions under epicarp of banana skin; on the floor material is much lower to the value of common materials and similar to the well lubricated surface. During their study, they found that, lubricating effect of banana skin is contributed by existence of follicular gel which sized about a few micro meters.”

Their experimental research, published in Jurnal Teknologi (Sciences & Engineering), 77:21 (2015) 73–77, is entitled ‘EFFECT OF BANANA PEELS AS AN ADDITIVE ON THE TRIBOLOGICAL PROPORTIES [sic] OF PARAFFIN OIL’

It was determined that :

“The dispersion of BP [Banana Peel] in the paraffin oil is stable and smooth without any sedimentation problem. The kinematic viscosity of the mixture increased from 30.0 to 38.4 cSt for 40°C and from 17.5 to 32.3 cSt for 100°C temperature. Dispersion of banana peel in the paraffin oil has significantly reduced the COF [Coefficient Of Friction] and wear volume at 500 N load and 100°C. Our preliminary result shows that dispersion of banana peel in the paraffin oil shows good and promising tribological characteristic of lubricant. Further investigation should be carried out in future to enhance and reveal the properties of banana peel waste for biolubricant’s application.”

BONUS: (Bananas related) ‘Nestlé’s first peelable ice cream rolls out worldwide’ (2011 press release)

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