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Synthetic oil is oil consisting of chemical compounds which were not originally present in crude oil (petroleum) but were artificially made (synthesized) from other compounds. Synthetic oil could be made to be a substitute for petroleum or specially made to be a substitute for a lubricant oil such as conventional (or mineral) motor oil refined from petroleum. When a synthetic oil or synthetic fuel is made as a substitute for petroleum, it is generally produced because of a shortage of petroleum or because petroleum is too expensive. When synthetic oil is made as a substitute for lubricant refined from petroleum, it is generally to provide superior mechanical and chemical properties than those found in traditional mineral oils.
Additional recommended knowledge
Synthetic oil as a substitute for petroleum-based oil
One form of synthetic oil is that manufactured using the Fischer-Tropsch process which converts carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide, and methane into liquid hydrocarbons of various forms. This process was developed and used extensively in World War II by Germany, which had limited access to crude oil supplies. Germany's yearly synthetic oil production reached millions of tons in 1944. It is today used in South Africa to produce most of that country's diesel. Dr. Hermann Zorn of I.G. Farben Industrie in Germany actually began to search for lubricants with the properties of natural oils but without the tendencies to gel or gum when used in an engine environment. His work led to the preparation of over 3500 esters in the late 1930s and early 1940s including diesters and polyol esters.
Another form of synthetic oil is that produced at Syncrude sands plant in Alberta, Canada. This huge facility removes highly viscous bitumen from oil sands mined nearby, and uses a variety of processes of hydrogenation to turn it into high-quality synthetic crude oil. The Syncrude plant supplies about 14% of Canada's petroleum output. A similar plant is the smaller nearby facility owned by Suncor. See Synthetic fuel.
Synthetic engine oil
In the early 1970s, synthetic oils began to be marketed as a substitute for mineral oils for engine lubrication. Although in use in the aerospace industry for some years prior, synthetic oil first became commercially available in an API-approved formula for automobile engines when the French Oil company MOTUL introduced a commercial ester-based synthetic oil in 1971. Other early synthetic motor oils included All-Proof, a 10W50 polyolester-based motor oil introduced in 1970; Amsoil, introduced in 1972 (with a diester-based 10W40 formula developed by Hatco); and Mobil 1, introduced in North America in 1974 (with a PAO-based 5W-20 formula).
Synthetic Base Stocks
Synthetic motor oils have been made from the following classes of lubricants:
Many vehicle manufacturers specify synthetic motor oils.
Various motor oils made from Group III, Group IV, and/or Group V base oils are on the market that meet one or more of these
The technical advantages of synthetic motor oils include:
The disadvantages of synthetic motor oils include:
Semi-synthetic oils (also called 'synthetic blends') are blends of mineral oil with no more than 30% synthetic oil. Designed to have many of the benefits of synthetic oil without matching the cost of pure oil. MOTUL introduced the first semi-synthetic motor oil in 1966.
|This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Synthetic_oil". A list of authors is available in Wikipedia.|