Petroleum-based mineral oils are functional lubricants in over 90 percent of industrial applications. They can be cost-effective options providing reasonable service life when used properly. However, but there are some limitations, depending upon the type of base used, the refining techniques, additives, and the operating conditions. Common difficulties with mineral oils are:
1. Changes in viscosity as with temperature variations than can cause the base oil to thin at high temperature.
2. Poor flow properties at low temperature caused by the presence of waxes.
3. Oxidation instability at high temperatures, which can lead to acid and sludge buildup.
4. High-temperature limit of about 125 degrees C (250 degrees F) at which point the base oil rapidly oxidizes. Mineral oil-based lubricants should be kept within a temperature range of 40 to 65 degrees C (100 to 150 degrees F).
The processing involved in creating synthetic base oils result in higher production costs. However, the benefits may outweigh the costs.
Synthetic oils have the ability to outperform mineral oils at both high operating temperatures (above 185 degrees F) and at low operating temperatures (below 0 degrees F). Other advantages include:
- Improved energy efficiency
- Warranty advantages offered by equipment manufacturers
- Reduced hydrocarbon emissions
- Possible biodegradability with some synthetics
- Some Synthetics offer higher film strength.
- Higher viscosity
- Fire resistance (phosphate esters)
Synthetic Lubricants & Filters Incorporated or SLFi has more than 25 years of experience in designing and formulating synthetic lubricants for both common and specialized applications. For more info on Advantages of Synthetic Base Oils contact us and we will be happy to help.