Base Oil

Base oils are the starting material for producing lubricants, and their properties greatly influence the performance and characteristics of the finished lubricant. They are typically derived from crude oil but can also be made from synthetic or bio-based sources. The American Petroleum Institute classifies them into five base oil groups.

Base oils define the inherent properties of the finished product, including viscosity, stability/longevity, and load-bearing capacity (the ability to withstand extreme pressures).

For example, a lubricant made with a high-quality, highly refined base oil may have better thermal and oxidative stability than a lubricant made with a lower-quality base oil but NOT have the same degree of load-bearing capacity as a result of the molecular structure and purity.

As a result, the choice of base oil is an essential consideration in producing lubricants. Consequently, selection requires careful thinking and planning around the machineā€™s operating conditions to produce a finished product that serves the long-term performance interests of the machine owner.

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