Base oil is the main building black for all forms of lubricants, including motor oil, grease, and industrial lubricants. It can be classified into paraffinic, naphthenic, or aromatic base oil depending on chemical composition. Base oil is produced from refining crude oil or through chemical synthesis. It is also classified into grades developed by the American Petroleum Institute (API) that serve as guidelines when blending licensed engine oils.
It offers the following advantages:
High viscosity index
Stays in the liquid form within a wide range of temperature with a high boiling point and low freezing point
Reduce wear and prevent breakdown
Absorbing and carrying away heat to coolers
Protects from dirt
Prevents rust by forming barrier against air and moisture
There are two ways in which base oil is classified:
» Chemical Composition:
• Paraffinic Base Oil:
Produced from Paraffinic crude oil, this type has a viscosity that performs well under temperature variations. Paraffinic base oil is used for automotive lubricants, greases, and medicinal products such as mineral oil.
• Naphthenic Base Oil:
Produced from Naphthenic crude oil, this base-oil type is used to make insulating oil for transformers, greases, compressor oil and shock-absorber oil.
• Aromatic extracts and other by-products:
Aromatic process oils are by-products from the solvent extraction process followed while purifying base oil. Other base-oil by-products are used in the making of white oil, Vaseline, and emulsions for the paper and wood industries.
» American Petroleum Institute (API) Grades:
• Group I:
This type contains less than 90 percent saturates, greater than 0.03 percent sulfur, and displays a viscosity-index range of 80 to 120. This is the most cost-effective type of base oil available in the market.
• Group II:
This type contains more than 90 percent saturates, less than 0.03 percent sulfur and displays a viscosity index of 80 to 120. This base oil displays excellent antioxidation properties, and has a clearer color compared to Group I base oils. Group II base oils is being increasingly used in the industries today.
• Group III:
This type contains greater than 90 percent saturates, less than 0.03 percent sulfur and displays a viscosity index of more than 120. These base oils are also being used more commonly today.
• Group IV:
Group IV base oils are polyalphaolefins made by synthesizing. They have a wider temperature range within which they remain liquid and functional.
• Group V:
This type includes all other base oils, including silicone, polyalkylene glycol, polyolester, biolubes, etc. These base oils are used with other base stocks to improve their properties.
Base oils of all types are primarily used to make lubricants for automotive, industrial, and medicinal applications.
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