The U.S. is the globe’s number one producer and consumer of oil, representing an 18% share. The country’s oil industry focuses on the production of different types of oil, including mineral oils. Usually, the mineral oils are manufactured from mineral crude oils through different refining phases. Here’s what comprises the oil industry in the United States.
1. Little-Known Facts about Mineral Oils
Mineral oils can be classified into two categories: low viscosity mineral oils and high viscosity mineral oils. Usually, mineral oils are obtained from crude oil following different procedures. The appropriate processes used in the manufacturing of crude mineral oils include distillation, extraction, and crystallization.
To obtain pure mineral oils, acid treatment using the oleum method is often conducted. Alternatively, catalytic hydrogenation is used in the purification of high and low viscosity mineral oils. Following these procedures, high-quality and refined mixtures of naphthenic and paraffinic liquid hydrocarbons are produced.
2. Understanding the Concept of Oil Viscosity
The essential property of oil lubricant is its absolute viscosity. Viscosity indicates the measure of force needed to move one layer of an oil film from the other. In this regard, high viscosity oil requires much power to shear the oil film. On the other hand, low viscosity mineral oils do not form protecting oil film making it easier to mover one layer of the film over the other.
Oil viscosity varies in different situations. As such, viscosity decreases as temperature rises. In this regard, as temperature rises, the oil film of low viscosity mineral oils fail, resulting in metal-to-metal contact. In this case, it is vital to understand the concept of the viscosity index. Viscosity index is a number that illustrates oil resistance to changes in viscosity with temperature.
3. Why Is Oil Viscosity an Important Element?
Motor oil viscosity shows the measure of the thickness of the oil. More specifically, viscosity determines the resistance of oil to shearing and flowing in liquid form. In this regard, viscosity is an essential component of motor oil. Usually, lower viscosity motor oil pumps easily through narrow filters, therefore recirculating easily. As such, low viscosity mineral oils are known to possess protective films.
Viscosity varies in synthetic oils and mineral oils. Synthetic oils are human-made, and their molecules are uniformly sized. The uniformity permits them to maintain their viscosity and size over a long period. Alternatively, viscosity in mineral oils is influenced by temperature.
In this case, power-robbing friction influences viscosity significantly. A low-viscosity mineral oil moves easily, creating less drag on reciprocating segments as it travels. The reduced drag results in high fuel usage, which exerts more power on the wheels. This translates to friction, which must be minimized through lubrication. In this regard, automobile and truck engines are the world’s biggest consumers of lubricants, using 20 million tons annually.
4. What You Should Know about White Mineral Oils
White mineral oils are often refined oils comprising of saturated alicyclic and aliphatic hydrocarbons. They contain unique characteristics including that they are colorless, odorless, hydrophobic, and tasteless.
Additionally, white mineral oils maintain their color over a long period. Because they are biologically and chemically stable, white mineral oils do not allow pathogenic bacterial growth. These outstanding attributes make white mineral oils suitable for use in multiple industries.
5. The Applications of White Mineral Oils
Personal care and pharmaceutical products contain white mineral oil ingredients. The inert nature of white oils makes them easy to use because they soften, lubricate, and resist moisture in various formations. Therefore, white oil is found in products ranging from sunscreens to baby lotions and oils. In this regard, a 2012 study verified that mineral oil is preferable for numerous skin types including the sensitive skins of infants.
Additionally, white oil manufacturers imply that low-volatility white oils are useful in the production of plastics such as thermoplastic elastomers and polystyrene. The white oils are necessary for the improvement and controlling of the melt flow rate of finished polymers.
Food grade mineral oils have been beneficial in food applications, as well. The food grade white oils are used in lubricating food-handling equipment. Moreover, white oils are used for impregnating wrapping paper to maintain food crisp and control foam in the production of vinegar.