The United States is the leading consumer and producer of commercial oil. American production accounts for 20% of the mineral oils produced globally. For industries that need these compounds for various applications, it is hard to find quality products for applications such as making high-performance lubricants, grease, and rubber.
In the production of rubber, the natural hydrocarbon compounds are broken down, and viscosity altered to facilitate the production of the end product. Mineral oil may be chosen for its flow characteristics and the nature of fillers required.
Additionally, manufacturers have to consider the environmental impact of compounds used in industries. In rubber oil production, there is a range of oils, from low to high viscosity white oil, suitable for different applications.
Aromatic compounds have a double-bonded mixed-ring carbon structure. The structure gives these compounds stability to work under stringent conditions during processing. During manufacturing, a high viscosity white oil is used with styrene-butadiene (SBR) rubber. The stability of aromatic compounds makes it suitable for different types of rubber materials including, NR, SBR, and PBR rubber.
Aromatic oils have good solvency. A low viscosity mineral oil is used as a solvent to dissolve rubber and make it easier to shape. For this reason, aromatic compounds are commonly used for making molded materials from rubber and plastic.
There are different types of aromatic mineral oils such as DAE (Distillate Aromatic Extract), TDAE (Treated Distillate Aromatic Extract), and RAE (Residual Aromatic Extract). These oils are often used in industries to develop compound batches to manufacture calendar sheets, tires, tubes, and hoses.
Paraffinic processing oils describe those oils with varying viscosities, as defined by the ASTM D-445. Paraffinic oil can have a wide range of Kinematic Viscosity values that range from 10 to 600 cSt. These compounds have either branched or straight-linked hydrocarbon chains of variable length.
The longer the hydrocarbon chain, the higher the resulting viscosity. Paraffinic oils have a high solubility in non-polar compounds and have excellent compatibility with rubber materials. These factors reduce the headaches associated with processing and can cut down manufacturing costs.
One characteristic of paraffinic oils is that they have a low aromatic content, which gives them greater color stability. Products made from low and high viscosity white oil can retain their color when exposed to UV light. Paraffinic compounds are, for this reason, used to manufacture automotive rubber parts, shoe soles, and materials that need to resist deterioration when exposed to the elements.
Generally, products made from paraffin high viscosity white oils allow for a longer shelf life of the end-product. Higher viscosity and paraffinic content enable end products to accept higher loads with good performance under high temperatures. Therefore, paraffinic oils are suitable for rubber used in the manufacture of conveyor belts and steam pipes.
Naphthenic oil is another category of mineral oils used in the production of rubber. These compounds have low wax and low aromatic content and have a structure similar to aromatic hydrocarbons. However, they demonstrate better stability during the manufacturing processes.
They have good color retention and have a naturally bright and clear appearance. However, unlike paraffinic oils, they have good solvency where high viscosity is required. Naphthenic oils have a low pour point for low viscosity fluids.
Because naphthenic compounds have good oxidative and thermal stability, they are used in applications such as the production of transformer insulating oil. They protect the metal windings from rust and the effects of temperature fluctuation. They are commonly used to make molded rubber articles, bicycle and automotive tires, tubes, and LPG components.
There are different types of mineral oils categorized by the structure and properties of its constituent compounds. Whether you are looking for low or high viscosity white oil, the type of oil and its characteristics will determine its suitability for a given application. However, the categories given here are just broad guidelines. Different white mineral oil manufacturers may have varying grades and technical specifications under these categories.