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Friday, 29 July 2011

What is synthetic oil?

What is synthetic oil? Everyone knows the answer... it’s an artificial oil! Well; right and wrong. Today we’re going to try and shed some more light on what is synthetic oil.
what is  synthetic oil

Synthetic base stocks are man-made and tailored to have a controlled molecular structure with predictable properties, unlike mineral base oils, which are complex mixtures of naturally occurring hydrocarbons.

In order to understand what is synthetic oil, it’ll be helpful to know that Dr. Hermann Zorn of I.G. Farben Industries in Germany began
working on synthetic lubricants in the late 1930s and early 1940s, to improve lubrication under extreme conditions.

Synthetic engine oils were first used in aircraft engines in World War II. The immediate benefits of easier engine starting in winter, and significantly decreased soot deposits in oil radiators were bolstered by the fact that it made Germany less reliant on crude oil.

OK so we understand where it comes from but what is synthetic oil?

Looking at what is synthetic oil, we also need to know the classification of lubricant base oils as follows:
•    Group I and II - are mineral oils derived from crude oil.
•    Group III - are highly refined mineral oils made through a process called hydrocracking, involving catalytic conversion of feed stock under pressure in the presence of hydrogen. These are considered synthetic motor oils only in the United States; elsewhere they are not allowed to be marketed as synthetic oil.
•    Group IV - Polyalphaolefin (PAO) base oils
•    Group V - Synthetic esters, etc (non-PAO synthetics, including diesters, polyolesters, alklylated napthlenes, alkyklated benzenes, etc.)

So that’s the answer then? Not quite. When explaining what is synthetic oil, we have to be aware of semi-synthetic oil (also called 'synthetic blends'). These are blends of mineral oils with less than 30% synthetic oil.

So as a consumer of lubricants it’s important to understand what is synthetic oil so that you know what you’re paying for – all synthetic oils are not created equal! With Group III and semi-synthetic blends also referred to as “synthetic oils” it’s very much up to you to do your homework when shopping for synthetic oil. Group IV and V are more expensive but also have superior performance.

At the end of the day it may not be about what is synthetic oil, so much as what is the most cost effective solution for the application. (As a follow up to this article explaining what is a synthetic oil, we’ll talk about the pros and cons of mineral vs synthetic industrial oils and specifically why use synthetic motor oil?
To find out more about what is synthetic oil in industrial applications, and read about the advantages of using Habot fully synthetic oils, please join our “Followers”.