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Lubricants

Petroleum and/or synthetic hydrocarbon products that are manufactured to reduce wear on bearing or other metal surfaces that experience friction during their operation.

Lubricants

Lubricants are used to improve the performance and extend the operational life of internal combustion engines, gearboxes, compressors, motors, winches, and a wide variety of other machinery on ocean-going vessels.

Lubricants are manufactured to meet particular qualities that include high boiling points, low freezing points, high viscosity indices, thermal stability, hydraulic stability, corrosion resistance, and resistance to oxidation, even at elevated temperatures.

Petroleum lubricants are manufactured from base oils that are isolated from high boiling fractions of crude oil that are often referred to as mineral oils. Base oils are produced through sequential processing of crude oil that includes basic:
  • distillation, to isolate the fraction of crude oil suitable for the mineral oil’s intended end use
  • deasphalting, to remove undesirable heavy fractions of oil that can lead to gumming and other undesirable characteristics extraction or solvent refining, to reduce or remove aromatics and related heteroatomic compounds
  • dewaxing, to remove undesirable paraffins and other alkanes that can otherwise crystallize in the oil at low temperatures
  • hydrotreating, to remove olefins and other unstable compounds from the base oil that can lead to smoking at high temperatures, an/or overall product instability
Collectively, these processes produce base oils that are typically naphthenic in nature, in other words, enriched with cyclic aliphatic (or minimally aromatic) hydrocarbons. Some base oils are more paraffinic in nature, containing mostly branched and only minor normal paraffins (n-alkanes), the latter indicating the base oil was not completely dewaxed.

Blends of naphthenic and paraffinic base oils are used to control viscosity of different lube oils as, generally, paraffinic base oils have higher viscosities and resist oxidation better than naphthenic base oils, making paraffinic-rich lube oils better suited for higher-temperature applications.

Marketable lubricants are produced from blends of various base oil stocks and additives (e.g., emulsifiers, surfactants, corrosion inhibitors, etc.).

Blends of base oils with additives are formulated to achieve desired viscosity, thermal stability, foaming characteristics, seal compatibility, compressibility, oxidation resistance, corrosivity, cloud point, pour point, and high-temperature properties such as volatility and flash point.