Monday, August 21, 2006


As can be seen from the table (right) API classifies base oil in Groups and Gp 3 oils are very low in sulphur and very high in viscosity index.

Why do we need Gp111 Oils ?

The main driver comes from automotive lubricant requirements

  • Lower and more environmentally friendly emissions
  • Extended drain periods
  • Better Fuel economy

What else can they be used for ?
Refrigeration oil, Coolants, ATF oils, Spray oils, process oils

Type Sulphur Saturates V.I.
Gp 1
>0.03% <90% 80-120
Gp 111
<0.03% >90%

B&N are European Agents for the worlds largest producer of Gp111 base oils S.K Corporation in Korea.Along with our Dutch partner we have over 20,000mt of product storage in Rotterdam,supplying both multinational and local blenders throughout Europe.

Property Method
D1298 0.836

K.V @40c
D445 19.6 24.3
D445 4.24
4.9 6.45
Visc Index D2270 122 127 128
Noack Din51581 14.9
Flash D92 230 235 240
Pour D97 -15 -15 -15

Friday, August 18, 2006


Enhanced Lubricants

To describe the concept of formulating an enhanced lubricant that is application specific we must first look at the strengths and weaknesses of both the mineral and synthetic base oils. Strengths of the synthetic base lubricants are applications where high or low temperatures are expected or a hostile environment would be detrimental to mineral oil based lubricant. A source that explains this more in detail is the Shell lubricants website at shelllubricants.
com/syntheticlubricants/synthetic_descriptions.pdf. Strengths of the mineral oil are improved additive solubility, natural oxidation resistance characteristics, better seal compatibility and lower base oil cost.
Weaknesses of the synthetic based lubricants are: limited additive solubility, reversal of ester based synthetic base oil to an acid, seal incompatibility with some seal materials, and a significantly higher per gallon cost compared to most mineral based oil. Mineral base oils have limitations in high and low temperature applications and certain atmospheres.

Mission of the Enhanced Lubricant Formulator
The high performance lubricant manufacturer must educate lubricant end users that lubricants are formulated beyond the base oil, whether it is mineral or synthetic base oil. Enhanced lubricants that are formulated and manufactured by a high performance lubricant manufacturer are designed to provide the highest level of performance in a specific application. This performance is proven in both laboratory tests and actual field applications. What the lubricant end user seeks is improved performance in their particular application. By seeking a synthetic
lubricant, they perceive they are asking for a lubricant that will give them superior performance when compared to the commercial grade lubricant they have been using with limited success.
Enhanced lubricants are designed significantly beyond the minimal formulating done for commercial grade mineral or synthetic base oil lubricants. When formulating these enhanced lubricants, research staff looks for synergistic combinations between the base oil (synthetic or mineral), conventional additives and proprietary additives. This synergy is what allows the product to provide the maximum performance for the application.

Formulation of Enhanced Lubricants
As we have discussed earlier, the first step in formulating is to decide if the application needs mineral or synthetic base oil. Determine which one will provide the superior application performance. Should the research person use a synthetic base oil which limits additive choice and concentration or a mineral base oil which allows a wider range of additive chemistries at a higher, more robust treatment concentration?
The second step is to determine what conventional additives and what quality levels are available to build the core of the lubricant around. While commercial grade lubricants are formulated only to a minimal performance level, an enhanced lubricant is formulated well beyond this point. This is accomplished by looking for synergy with high quality component additives, which “enhance” the performance of the lubricant. Additional additive components are then added at optimum treat levels to assure the enhanced lubricant will deliver maximum
performance for the specific application. If the formulation requires synthetic base oil, the main issue is still the additive concentration needed for superior performance. Many times synthetic base oil will not hold enough additive in solution to deliver the needed performance for the application.
The third and final step of formulating an enhanced lubricant is choosing which proprietary additives should be used? Through basic research and proven field performance, high performance lubricant manufacturers will have a number of proprietary additives that work in specific applications and have proven will enhance the performance of the lubricant. One or more of these additives will be used to fine-tune the enhanced lubricant.

The Educated End User

Once a lubricant end user understands what is involved in formulating an enhanced lubricant it becomes easy to see where a synthetic lubricant might not be the superior product for the particular application. Also, the price of the enhanced lubricant is now more justified because the customer understands that there is a technology and performance level beyond that of the lubricant that has been used in the specific application.
Sure, the synthetic lubricant manufacturer recommends a synthetic. He recommends a synthetic because it brings him better profitability than the commodity mineral base oil lubricant that he is also selling. An article discussing synthetics in the June 2003 edition of Lubricants World covers how the public has embraced the synthetic concept and how they do not understand what they are really receiving for the extra money they spend. The article indicates that consumers were “becoming more acquainted with the word “synthetic” and the
impression was favorable in terms of better performance than was perceived as available from conventional motor oil.” The article goes on to state that “the public is enraptured by the concept and so the market is growing, despite a higher price.” In the continuing debate about synthetic versus mineral oils, the end user is really only interested in protecting the investment they have in their equipment. High performance lubricant manufacturers have lubricants to provide this protection beyond that offered by major oil lubricant manufacturers and
commodity oil blenders.


As lubricant manufacturers search to improve their profitability, a trend has been emerging
from the major oil lubricant manufacturers and independent commodity oil blenders. This trend is to emphasize synthetic lubricants, an issue that appears to be coming up frequently in sales
presentations to lubricant end users. While the trend is for improved lubrication from the users
standpoint, they can be led down the wrong path that a synthetic based lubricant will always
provide superior performance. To help the end user choose the right path they must be provided with some basic knowledge of how the different types of lubricants are formulated with respect to performance in the application.

Lubricant Types

There are four principal types of finished lubricants being produced today. The first and
oldest is mineral oils with no additives. These oils are typically seen in the limited applications
where no enhancement to the base oil is needed. Applications of this type are API SA engine oil,
barrier oils, seal oils, technical oils, etc.

The second type is mineral base oils with additives. These lubricants make up the majority
of the commercially available lubricants in the marketplace today. Applications of this type of
lubricant are engine oil, hydraulic oil, turbine oil, gear oil, air compressor oil, etc. These types of
lubricants are applicable with the exception of high or low temperature or where a hostile
environment is affecting the lubricant.

The third type is synthetic base oils with additives. These oils make up a small part of the overall lubricant marketplace but are increasing due to their popularity with many lubricant end users. For the past decade the end user has been told, in passenger car motor oil dvertising campaigns from the majors, that these lubricants perform better than mineral based oils. Due to the strategic advertising directed at the general public for passenger car motor oil, most lubricant end users believe that synthetic equals superior performance over any other type of lubricant regardless of the application.

Synthetic base oils can be many different types of compounds with many being limited to one specific application. The majors push synthetic base oil lubricants because the primary synthetic is PAO (polyalpha-olefin). PAO is a primary product produced by two of the major oil companies in the United States. They heavily market these synthetic lubricants because the PAO base oil provides them with improved profitability over mineral base oil lubricants. One only needs to compare pricing of a mineral oil based passenger car motor oil to that of a synthetic base to see that the pricing would improve the marketer’s profitability. Independent commodity oil blenders have also jumped on the synthetic bandwagon because it helps them improve profitability.

A limited number of high performance lubricant manufacturers go beyond the synthetic vs. mineral oil argument to truly formulating a superior enhanced lubricant. These lubricants are formulated for superior performance in a specific range of applications without limitations to the base oil type or performance additives used. If the high performance lubricant manufacturer believes that synthetic base oil with additives is needed for the application then this is how the
lubricant is formulated. In most cases however, these manufactures know that mineral base oil with properly selected and balanced conventional and proprietary additives can be formulated with a robust treat level to provide superior application performance. Thus, the lubricant end user is given a lubricant that provides superior performance at the most economical cost for the
application. This is why the lubricant end-users are looking at a synthetic in the first place, because of their desire for a superior performance lubricant.

Synthetic Versus Conventional Oil

Over the years, Car Craft has tested many different types of engine components. A common theme underlying many of these tests is that bigger is not necessarily better, especially on the street. But just as many continue to believe in rad cams and giant carbs, traditional, thick, single-viscosity oils still have a strong following among car-crafting traditionalists.

Of course, high-viscosity oils don’t flow well at low temperatures. In the old days, guys living in cold climates put in a thinner oil for the winter with a "W" or cold temperature-viscosity rating. Although they poured better at low temperatures, straight-viscosity "W" oils, in turn, didn’t do a good job of protecting high-performance engines once they reached normal operating temperatures, so they weren’t recommended for sustained high-speed driving. The oil industry developed "all-season" multiviscosity oils to solve the problem, but some of the early products didn’t hold up under heavy-duty operating conditions, tainting the reputation of multiviscosity lubricants among many Car Crafters to this day.

Yet today’s modern oils are vastly improved over those of 20 years ago. For oils that meet the current "SJ" service designation, viscosity breakdown is no longer a significant problem, thanks to modern formulation technologies and viscosity enhancers. Auto manufacturers have also redesigned their engines for tighter clearances and instituted precision machining techniques that take advantage of thinner oil to deliver improved fuel economy through reduced friction.

Like the OEMs, racers have discovered that friction reductions plus precision tight clearances yield greater efficiency and more power. Racers also know that most engine wear occurs at start-up, so it’s critical that engine parts receive proper lubrication as soon as possible--hence the need for an initially thinner, so-called "winter" viscosity. Today, few racers run a single-viscosity motor oil except nitro-burners. According to 76 Lubricants, most NASCAR teams use the really thin stuff during qualifying, moving up to 20W-50 during the long race (although it’s rumored some teams may use the extreme cold-weather thin oils all the time, but don’t want to admit to their latest performance "trick").

Synthetic oils, pioneered in the ’70s by Mobil and now available from most major oil companies, take the all-season, multiviscosity approach to the outer limits. Unlike traditional mineral oils that are produced by distillation and further refining of existing crude oil stock, synthetic lubricants are made through chemical reactions. These new oils aren’t synthetic or artificial in the sense that they’re manufactured out of whole cloth--they still have the same natural ingredients found in "real" oil. But in a synthetic lubricant, these ingredients are recombined like a Lego set to yield synthesized-hydrocarbon molecular chains with desirable characteristics and uniformity not found in even the highest-quality traditional motor oils. Typically, the best synthetic oils use a combination of up to three different synthetic base fluids--polyalphaolefin (PAO), synthetic esters, and alkylated aromatics.

Because a synthetic oil’s molecules are much more consistent in size and shape, they are better able to withstand extreme engine temperatures. By contrast, the unstable molecules in conventional oil can easily vaporize or oxidize in extreme heat. Mobil 1 synthetic is said to be capable of protecting engines "at well over 400 degrees F"; in the real world, most racers have no problem running synthetics up to 290 degrees F under prolonged use, but they get really jumpy when a conventional exceeds 270 degrees F.

Because a synthetic oil is chemically produced, there are no contaminants in the oil. By contrast, conventional oils contain small amounts of sulfur, wax, and asphaltic material that can promote detonation as well as varnish and sludge buildup. With no wax, synthetics will flow at much lower temperatures than conventional oils. In fact, synthetic oils are now available with viscosity ratings as low as 0W-30, as in Mobil 1’s new Tri-Synthetic blend or Castrol Formula SLX. These oils flow more than seven times faster than a conventional 5W-30 motor oil during initial start-up, yet at normal operating temperatures act like a regular Grade 30 oil.

An 0W-30 synthetic oil is capable of pumping easily at -62 degrees F and flowing at even lower temperatures. Conventional oils are essentially frozen solid at that temperature, so there’s simply no conventional equivalent to this new grade. There are 5W-30 conventional and synthetic oils, but even here, the synthetic has a real-world advantage: Mobil 1’s 5W-30 will pump at -58-degrees F, compared to about -35-degrees F for a conventional oil.

But claims and talk are cheap, so Car Craft had Westech Performance run some of the new Mobil 1 0W-30 in Ford’s prototype 392 small-block stroker crate engine. The Mobil 1 was compared to the generic (and recommended for this engine) 20W-50 factory-fill conventional oil, as well as 10W-30 conventional oil. All tests began with the oil temperature stabilized at 210 degrees F. The engine ran from 3,300-6,200 rpm, and several runs were made for each oil to ensure repeatability.

In terms of peak numbers, we found that the engine gained nearly 7 hp with the thinner conventional oil, and was up nearly 10 hp with the synthetic. No peak torque gains were observed by changing from 20W-50 to 10W-30 conventional; however, the synthetic was up 15 lb-ft of torque at the peak. Looking at average numbers helps explain where the gains occurred--both the thinner conventional and synthetic oils broadened the torque and power bands overall, but the thin Mobil 1 showed the greatest improvement under 4,700 rpm, indicating that the thinner oil provides less initial drag for the engine to overcome.

However, thinner oil also translates to lower oil pressure: The 0W-30 oil developed 10 psi less than the baseline 20W-50. Only 46 psi was on tap at 6,200 rpm--kind of shaky as most gearheads like to see at least 10 psi per 1,000 rpm. Still, the engine ran OK, and the bearings looked fine on teardown, seemingly verifying synthetic manufacturers’ claims that their products’ greater shear strength more than makes up for lower viscosity. Is 10 hp and 15 lb-ft worth paying two to four times more for a quart of oil? Or the potential for extended engine life? You be the judge.

Synthetic Versus Conventional Oil
Viscosity, Temperature, And Horsepower By Marlan Davis


The differences between these types of oils are all in the molecular makeup. Synthetic oil has a very consistent molecule size which gives the oil very good and consistent properties. Mineral oil being a product of nature has lots of different sized molecules in its makeup. The advantage of synthetic is that it potentially has a more stable suite of properties that can be tailored to a wider range of applications. This is why you can now find oils that can cover huge viscosity ranges such as 15W40 and even OW30! There are definite advantages to this ability but careful consideration of application is necessary.

To review some of the oil jargon let's look at what the numbers and letters mean that I just referred to. Viscosity is determined by measuring the flow properties at a fixed temperature. A base number is set as standard then relative flow numbers are assigned to describe the relative viscosity of the oil being measured. The lower the number the "lighter" the oil is. That means it flows much easier at the same temperature than one with a higher viscosity rating. There are single viscosity oils so it is simple to understand that 10 weight oil flows easier than a 30 weight oil under that same temperature circumstances. Multigrade oil is what has become possible due to additive packages and has been further enhanced by synthetic oils. A number such as 10 W 30 means that the oil has variable properties between this range of viscosities. The best thing about this is that it can compensate (within its designed capability) for the negative effects of temperature on viscosity. High temperatures drive viscosities down but multigrade oils have the ability, due to their additives, to compensate. So back to our 10 W 30 example. The 10 means that it has the viscosity (flow properties) of a single grade 10 weight oil at LOW temperatures. The "W" following the first number is the convention that

verifies this tested ability. The last number is the viscosity rating at HIGH temperatures. The working temperature range is approximately between 0 and 100 degrees Celsius. Things go out of whack above and below. Above 100 degrees C. the viscosity begins to lower as it would with single grade oil. The viscosity can be lowered by as much as 50% for higher than 100 deg. C temperatures.

You need "thinner' oils like 10 or multigrade with 5W or 10W when the engine temperature is low particularly here in Canada where we can see quite cold temperatures even in good driving months, never mind winter. This low viscosity allows the engine to receive vital lubrication. Imagine trying to pump grease versus olive oil. A 30, or worse, a 50 weight oil would look, feel and work just like grease at 0 degrees Celsius. Your engine will suffer. Olive oil would in fact work better under these conditions, but not for long!

The need to have good lubricating properties at low temperatures but then have good lubricating properties at high temperatures is what has stimulated the development of multi grade oils. So our 10 W 30 has the easy flowing viscosity of a 10 weight oil when cold and then the lubricating properties of 30 weight oil when it is hot. Just what we need in a country like ours where the temperatures are widely variable at nearly anytime of the year.

Engine design has a lot to do with which grade and which type of oil you should choose. If the engine was designed to work with a single grade mineral oil with its multi sized molecules and low or high single grade viscosities then using something "better" may not have any significant benefits. If however your engine is designed to exploit the benefits of multi grade fully synthetic oil then that is exactly what you should be using. Therefore putting new multi viscosity synthetic oil

in your old iron horse could present a problem and vice versa.

Advertisers are not engine designers. They publish brochures to make people think that they are getting better value or in some case something for nothing. Go by the manufacturers recommendations. They are the ones who have designed and extensively tested the engine and know what it needs.


Friday, August 11, 2006

What's Synthetic Oil

Synthetic oil is oil consisting of chemical compounds which were not originally present in crude oil (petroleum) but were artificially made (synthesized) from other compounds. Synthetic oil could be made to be a substitute for petroleum or specially made to be a substitute for a lubricant oil such as conventional (or mineral) motor oil refined from petroleum. When a synthetic oil is made as a substitute for petroleum, it is generally produced because of a shortage of petroleum or because petreoleum is too expensive. When synthetic oil is made as a substitute for lubricant refined from petroleum, it is generally because of superior properties of the synthetic oil. Synthetic motor oil is often synthesized from reactants (feedstocks) derived from petroleum, but the compounds in the synthetic motor oil have different molecular structures from those originally in petroleum.

Friday, August 04, 2006

Base Oil Manufacture

Lubricant base oils are produced in a series of steps, which are designed to enhance certain desirable properties. These include viscosity index, oxidation resistance, thermal stability and low temperature fluidity.

Starting from petroleum crude oil, the typical process for making a lubricant base oil is as follows:

  • Separation of lighter boiling materials, such as gasoline, diesel, etc
  • Distillation to give desired base oil viscosity grades
  • Selective removal of impurities, such as aromatics and polar compounds
  • Dewaxing to improve low temperature fluidity
  • Finishing to improve oxidation resistance and heat stability

Generally both Solvent Refined and Hydrocracked base oils are manufactured this way, but differ in the methods employed.

Solvent Refining Process

Developed over seventy years ago, this process attempts to remove the undesirable components from the feed, by solvent extraction. Initially, light oils such as gasoline, diesel, etc are separated from crude petroleum by atmospheric distillation. The resulting material is charged to a vacuum distillation tower, where lubricant fractions of specific viscosity ranges are taken off. These fractions are then treated individually in a solvent extraction tower. A solvent, e.g., furfural, is mixed with them and extracts about 80% of the aromatic material present. After reducing the aromatic content, the solvent extracted lube fraction is dewaxed by chilling to a low temperature, which removes much of the wax and so improves the low temperature fluidity of the product. Finally, the dewaxed lube fractions are sometimes finished to improve their colour and stability, depending on the application requirements. One common method of finishing is mild hydrofinishing. This step should not be confused with Petro-Canada's HT Severe Hydrocracking process, as conditions of temperature and pressure in hydrofinishing are mild and less effective.

solvent.jpg (12265 bytes)

From: PETRO CANADA Lubricants

API Base Oil Classification

The American Proteleum Institute (API) has developed a Base Oil Classification System which classifies base oils into five major groups, as shown below :
Base Oil Characteristics
Group Sulphur Saturates Viscosity Index Method

Wt, % Wt, % VI
I > 0.03 <> 80 - 119 Solvent Refined
II <> > 90 80 - 119 Hydroprcessed
III <> > 90 120 + Severely Hydroprocessed
Polyalpha Olefins


Other Base Oils

Group I, or conventional base oils manufactured by Solvent Refining, make up most of the base oil produced in the world today. Containing mor than 0.03 wt% Sulphur and less than 90 wt% Saturates, they are less pure than Hydroprocessed or Synthetic base oils.

Group II and III base oils are manufactured by what the API calls Hydroprocessing or Severe Hydroprocessing. With Sulphur contents of less than 0.03 wt% and Saturates contents of more than 90 wt%, they are more pure than Group I base oils.

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Lubricant From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Lubricants are an essential part of modern machinery. Everything from computer hard disk drives to the Airbus A380 requires lubrication of its moving parts.

A lubricant (colloquially, lube, although this may also refer to personal lubricants) is a substance (usually a liquid) introduced between two moving surfaces to reduce the friction and wear between them. A lubricant provides a protective film which allows for two touching surfaces to be separated, thus lessening the friction between them.

Typically lubricants contain 90% base oil (most often petroleum fractions, called mineral oils) and less than 10% additives. Vegetable oils or synthetic liquids such as hydrogenated polyolefins, esters, silicone, fluorocarbons and many others are sometimes used as base oils. Additives deliver reduced friction and wear, increased viscosity, resistance to corrosion and oxidation, aging or contamination, etc.

Non-liquid lubricants include grease, powders (dry graphite, PTFE, Molybdenum disulfide, etc.), teflon tape used in plumbing, air cushion and others. Another approach to reducing friction and wear is to use bearings such as ball bearings, roller bearings or air bearings or to use sound, in the case of acoustic lubrication.

Lubricants are also added to some fuels. Sulfur impurities in fuels also provide some lubrication properties, which has to be taken in account when switching to a low-sulfur diesel; biodiesel is a popular diesel fuel additive providing additional lubricity.

In addition to automotive and industrial applications, lubricants are used for many other purposes, including K-Y Jelly, often used as a sexual lubricant, bio-medical applications (e.g. lubricants for artificial joints) and others.