Meeting the energy challenge with synthetic base stocks

Amy Long
ExxonMobil Chemical

There are many ways of improving energy efficiency, such as adopting new technologies or using new materials. One of the most simple and economic methods is to switch from mineral to higher performing synthetic lubricants.

Synthetic lubricants improve energy efficiency by reducing internal friction. Synthetic lubricants can help to reduce friction in all lubrication regimes: when operating at high temperatures and oil film thickness is low, synthetic base oils can help to increase oil films and move away from boundary conditions due to their higher VI (Viscosity Index) and film forming capability; In EHL regimes, the molecular structure of the synthetic base oil can help reduce internal friction because the traction coefficient of synthetics is lower than that of mineral oils; and finally when operating in the hydrodynamic region below normal running temperatures, the higher VI and excellent low temperature performance of synthetic base oils means that the oil viscosity can be less, reducing the internal friction and fluid losses.

Synthetic lubricants improve energy efficiency by lowering the viscosity grade required for mineral oils for a given system again due to their higher VI (the VI of metallocene PAO from ExxonMobil Chemical can reach up to 200+), lower volatility and higher film forming capability. When moving parts soaked in the oil or pumping oil, the viscosity determines how much energy will be required, the higher the viscosity, the higher the energy requirement. Synthetic base stocks make it possible for 0W-20, even lower viscosity engine oils to provide satisfying lubrication protection.

Due to their excellent thermal and oxidative stabilities, synthetics allow the implementation of other technologies that increase efficiency and greatly extend the drain interval, thus reducing the energy requirements associated with maintenance activities. The use of synthetic lubricants allows those machines to operate safely and reliably at higher temperatures with better efficiency.

This presentation will focus on the different ways that synthetic lubricants can help reduce friction in all lubrication regimes, and will also introduce ExxonMobil Chemical’s next generation metallocene PAO—- SpectraSyn EliteTM —-their superior performance and potential to formulate energy efficient lubricants.

Visit ExxonMobil Chemical Synthetic Fluids and Lubricant Base Stocks website for more details.