For many people, oil means dirty black stuff. And that’s kind of true. But oil is actually a biological product. It was created more than 250 million years ago by pressing together the remains of algae and microorganisms under high pressure. Purely biological and without industrial intervention. According to jeepzine.com/chemicals-fluids/ there are three types of engine oils: mineral oil, synthetic oil and semi-synthetic oil. Each of these engine oils has a different composition: the base is either refined crude oil or laboratory-produced polymers.
What happened back then can be explained quickly: dead plant parts and other organic material accumulate at the bottom of a sea. You’ve probably seen the same thing in small form in an aquarium. That’s why you clean it from time to time. However, if these organic materials collect on the bottom over a long period of time, together with clay particles that also sink, a thick layer is formed. Of course, the seabed is rarely stirred or cleaned, so this mass can ferment quite quietly. In the absence of oxygen, it then forms a kind of putrid sludge that can become quite thick over the years. And the more that is deposited on top, the more the pressure on the lower layers increases. This is how petroleum came into being over a long period of time.
The production of engine oil
Oil has been known for a long time. It was already popular with the Romans for lubricating axles. They also gave it the name that is the origin of the word oil as we know it today: petra oleum, or stone oil. However, it did not have much to do with today’s motor oil. For the oil that the Romans used was what we today call crude oil. This is the substance that wells up from the earth. For modern engines, this unrefined crude product would mean almost immediate extinction. It was easily sufficient for the axles of Roman chariots.
Crude oil must be refined to meet today’s demands. And that not only sounds demanding, it is. Refining involves removing impurities from the oil so that it can function properly. And functioning is to be understood quite literally. Because oil is increasingly becoming a design element of engines and other components. Impurities in oil are primarily substances containing sulfur, oxygen and nitrogen. They cause the oil to age very quickly and make it tough. If these substances remained in the oil, they would mean that we would have to change our engine oil very frequently. This is prevented by refining and also by subsequent further refining.
After refining, however, the oil is far from finished. By the way, refining is not the only process that takes place in a refinery. The crude oil has to undergo much more. For example, it is distilled and kerosene is removed. All this is done in order to still not have the finished engine oil at the end. This is because only the base oil is produced in the refinery. Or rather, the various base oils. The right base oil is the basis for further oil production. According to machinerylubrication magazine.
Mineral oil: composition of a natural oil
Mineral engine oil is produced from crude oil. After extraction and transportation to a refinery, the crude oil goes through several refining processes to remove as many impurities as possible. This oil consists mainly of hydrocarbons (oxygenated or non-oxygenated), but it may also contain traces of compounds such as sulfur or nitrogen. After processing, additives are added to the so-called mineral engine oil to improve its performance.
Synthetic oil: composition and production
Synthetic oil can be produced chemically in the laboratory, but it can also be obtained from refined petroleum. The refining of synthetic oil is a more complex process than that of mineral oil: it involves changing the structure of the hydrocarbon molecules. The processes used to obtain this type of oil ensure that only the best molecules are retained. In addition, many additives are added. Due to its composition, the so-called synthetic engine oil is considered a high-quality oil that is purer and performs better than mineral oil. Learn more about synthetic oil production from the twinoils manufacturer.
Semi-synthetic oil: composition and production
Semi-synthetic oil is a blend of synthetic oil and mineral oil. The ratios in the mixture are not the same: semi-synthetic oil contains no more than 30% synthetic oil. Oil containing only 1% synthetic oil is also called “semi-synthetic oil”.
The oil recipe is crucial
Oil making is basically like cooking. You need a recipe. And the right ingredients. Then you’re ready to go. But: just dumping it together is not enough. Just as it’s not enough to simply cook or stir in the kitchen, there are also very different ways of bringing the various ingredients together. If it is called baking, poaching or steaming in the kitchen, then the oil manufacturer uses different procedures for the oil preparation.
And like the chef, he will hardly reveal what the secrets of his end product are. The only thing that is clear is that various base oils mixed and combined with the right additives in the right way ultimately produce what makes our engine happy and, above all, healthy: engine oil.