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Dow Corning Corporation; Receipt of Petition for Determination of Inconsequential Noncompliance

American Government Special Collections Reference Desk

American Government Topics:  Dow Corning

Dow Corning Corporation; Receipt of Petition for Determination of Inconsequential Noncompliance

Barry Felrice
National Highway Traffic Safety Administration
March 23, 1994

[Federal Register Volume 59, Number 56 (Wednesday, March 23, 1994)]
[Unknown Section]
[Page 0]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 94-6694]

[[Page Unknown]]

[Federal Register: March 23, 1994]


National Highway Traffic Administration
[Docket No. 94-18; Notice 1]


Dow Corning Corporation; Receipt of Petition for Determination of 
Inconsequential Noncompliance

    Dow Corning Corporation (Dow) of Midland, Michigan has determined 
that some of its brake fluid fails to comply with the requirements of 
49 CFR 571.116, Motor Vehicle Safety Standard No. 116, ``Hydraulic 
Brake Fluids,'' and has filed an appropriate report pursuant to 49 CFR 
part 573, ``Defect and Noncompliance Reports.'' Dow has also petitioned 
to be exempted from the notification and remedy requirements of the 
National Traffic and Motor Vehicle Safety Act (15 U.S.C. 1381 et seq.) 
on the basis that the noncompliance is inconsequential as it relates to 
motor vehicle safety.
    This notice of receipt of a petition is published under section 157 
of the National Traffic and Motor Vehicle Safety Act (15 U.S.C. 1417) 
and does not represent any agency decision or other exercise of 
judgment concerning the merits of the petition.
    Paragraph S5.1.9, Water Tolerance, of Standard No. 116 states that:

    At low temperature, after humidification, ``(1) The [brake] 
fluid shall show no sludging, sedimentation, crystallization, or 
stratification; (2) Upon inversion of the centrifuge tube, the air 
bubble shall travel to the top of the fluid in not more than 10 
seconds; (3) If cloudiness has developed, the wet fluid shall regain 
its original clarity and fluidity when warmed to room temperature.''

    Between September 4, 1992, and October 29, 1993, Dow produced and 
sold 11 lots of DOT 5 silicone base brake fluid (SBBF) that do not 
comply with the requirements in Paragraph S5.1.9 of Standard No. 116. 
These 11 lots were broken down into 191 55 gallon drums, 1,112 one 
gallon retail packages, 11,458 one quart retail packages, and 33,091 12 
ounce retail packages.
    At some point near the end of the low temperature portion of the 
water tolerance test, these lots contained a very small amount of a 
soft, slush-like crystallation. The crystallization usually formed 
around the top of the specimen, where the SBBF met the vial headspace. 
The smallest amount of warming made the crystallization flow back into 
a liquid state.
    Dow supports its petition for inconsequential noncompliance with 
the following:

    First, the low temperature portion of the water, tolerance test 
was designed to [simulate] excessive water in non-SBBF brake fluids. 
But as applied to SBBF, the humidification step results in a water 
content level for test samples that is nearly double that of in-
service SBBF. SBBF test samples clearly do not accurately represent 
in-service SBBF. [Dow b]elieves this built-in error results in 
unrealistic and excess water. During this portion of the test, that 
excess water becomes a seed for crystallization of the SBBF itself. 
Without the humidification step, SBBF does not crystallize.
    Second, the soft, slush-like crystals are identical to the 
liquid SBBF; that is, 20 centistoke polydimethylsiloxane, some 
organic additives, and 350-400 [parts per million (ppm)] water. The 
SBBF crystals should not be considered as water-based ``ice'' 
crystals. These SBBF crystals do not exhibit any of the negative 
safety impacts that result from ice formation.

    Dow also submitted the following additional material: (1) A 1982 
petition for rulemaking it filed to amend this portion of the standard; 
(2) data to support this petition; (3) test data showing that the 
subject SBBF would pass the requirements of S5.1.9 when the 
humidification step is eliminated; and, (4) a statement by Ron 
Tecklenberg, Ph.D, a Dow chemist, supporting Dow's petition. This 
additional material is available for review in the HNTSA Docket 
    Interested persons are invited to submit written data, views, and 
arguments on the petition of Dow, described above. Comments should 
refer to the docket number and be submitted to: Docket Section, 
National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, Room 5109, 400 Seventh 
Street, SW., Washington, DC, 20590. It is requested but not required 
that six copies be submitted.
    All comments received before the close of business on the closing 
date indicated below will be considered. The application and supporting 
materials, and all comments received after the closing date will also 
be filed and will be considered to the extent possible. When the 
petition is granted or denied, the notice will be published in the 
Federal Register pursuant to the authority indicated below.
    Comment closing date: April 22, 1994.

(15 U.S.C. 1417; delegations of authority at 49 CFR 1.50 and 49 CFR 

    Issued on: March 16, 1994.
Barry Felrice,
Associate Administrator for Rulemaking.
[FR Doc. 94-6694 Filed 3-22-94; 8:45 am]

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