Lubrication is one of the most important components of the industrial maintenance process. By reducing the friction between the parts, the lubricating oil acts to reduce wear and prolong the life of each part of the machinery.
However, lubricating oils can have different characteristics and applications. There is not necessarily a better oil than the other, but products with different quality and versatility, which adjust according to each industry and need. Therefore, it is important to know them well in order to know which is the most suitable choice for your business.
In this post we will discuss the properties that should be taken into account in order to determine which are the best types of lubricating oils for your equipment: mineral, synthetic or semi-synthetic.
Types of lubricating oils
Lubricating oils can be classified according to their origin, viscosity, density, type of engine in which they will be applied, physical state, among other factors.
Some of this information can be found on the label of the lubricating oil packaging, where its type is specified, as well as in the Machinery Manual, which indicates the ideal lubricant based on aspects such as viscosity and performance. Learn more about the different types of lubricating oils below.
Mineral lubricating oil
Mineral oil originates from the distillation and refining of crude oil and also has good viscosity and varied applications, such as refrigeration, isolation of transformers, storage and transportation of alkaline products, lubrication in general, among others. In total, it differs between three types:
- Paraffinic mineral oil
- Stable and resistant chemical alloys: prevent oxidation at room or slightly elevated temperature.
- Chemical composition formed by paraffin hydrocarbons: it has reduced density and less sensitivity to changes in viscosity and temperature.
- Disadvantages: low temperatures, in which paraffins tend to settle.
- Naphthenic-based mineral oil
- It forms cycles in its molecular structure: go in advance to paraffinic hydrocarbons, which are formed in currents. NOTE: Could the term “beforehand” be replaced? It is not very clear. I think that term was also used in another post. PLEASE CHECK!
- Application: it is used in machinery that requires lubricants for low temperatures.
- Disadvantages: incompatibility with synthetic material and elastomers.
- Mixed base mineral oil
- Meets lubricant characteristics as needed: most mineral oils consist of mixtures based on naphthenic or paraffinic in varying amounts, according to the field of application.
Synthetic lubricating oil
Unlike mineral oils, synthetic oils are produced artificially. In general, they have good viscosity-temperature behavior and a low coking tendency at high temperatures. They have high thermal resistance and chemical influences, with low solidification point at low temperatures. In total, they are distinguished between five types:
- Synthetic hydrocarbons
- Importance: polyalphaolefins (PAO) and hydrocracked oils, made from mineral oils, stand out.
- Synthetication: process to which they are submitted, which eliminates free radicals and impurities, making them more stable to oxidation.
- Viscosity-temperature: through synthesis, it is possible to achieve excellent behavior in relation to these aspects. These hydrocarbons reach Viscosity Indices (IV) of up to 150.
- Polyesters NOTE: Polyesters?
- Application: used in the manufacture of special lubricants, brake fluids, hydraulic oils and cutting fluids.
- Polyalkylene glycol: miscible in water or not miscible in water, it has gained more and more relevance today.
- Links between acids and alcohols through water loss: with this origin, some groups form ester oils, used in lubrication and in the production of lubricating greases.
- Application: employees on a large scale in all civil aviation turbines, for their resistance to high and low temperatures, as well as very high speeds. Among the synthetics, it is the most consumed worldwide.
- Silicone Oils
- High resistance: silicones stand out for their resistance to low, high temperatures and aging, in addition to good behavior in relation to viscosity.
- Application: for the production of lubricants, the main ones are phenyl-polysiloxanes and methil-polisiloxanes. NOTE: Please check these two terms because, on the internet, there is great variation.
- Fluorsilicones: they are also of great importance for the manufacture of lubricants resistant to the influence of chemicals, such as solvents, acids, among others.
- Perfluorinated polyesters
- Resistance: fluorine and fluorochlorocarbon oils exhibit excellent stability against chemical influences. NOTE: I found “chlorofluorocarbon”. PLEASE CHECK!
- Disadvantages: should not be applied in temperatures above 260ºC, as
- that tend to crack and release toxic vapors.
Óleo lubrificante semissintético
Semi-synthetic or synthetic-based oils are mixed in varying proportions of basic minerals and synthetics. The objective is to gather the best properties of each type for each use situation, all associated with cost optimization, since synthetic raw materials imply higher costs than those of mineral base.
The presence of small particles is one of the factors that most impair the performance of the lubricating oil. Thus, filtration processes are important to identify contamination and solids. Another process, microfiltration, is even more prominent than traditional filtration, as it ensures more effective retention and captures very small particles, up to nine microns in size.
These procedures prevent anomalies and wear on the equipment, in order to increase the useful life of the components. Without the application of these methodologies, the equipment will be more subject to unexpected failures and stoppages, causing direct losses in relation to the quality, productivity and availability of the services provided.
Types of lubricating oils: choose your
Now that you know which type of oil is best for your machine and which processes act to protect the components, you have a chance to save much more in your production. At POC Filters, we have professionals available to help you answer questions and define the most effective procedures to perform good maintenance. Get a quote today!