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Letters to the Editor


Lower Volatility, Here and Now

Dear LubesnGreases,

The last part of Decembers article, Volatility, The Inside Story, by Steve Swedberg, paints an incomplete picture of how to formulate future low viscosity engine oil grades, such as SAE 0W-16. It cautions the industry to consider narrower cuts of todays base stocks, or to use gas-to-liquid or polyalphaolefin base stocks. The author overlooks that some of todays API Group III base stocks are fully capable to formulate the new SAE viscosity grades and easily meet the volatility specifications, currently at 15 percent maximum Noack loss.

I reference the SAE paper 2010-01-2286 and the data presented in Table 6: Blend Study Data, on using Group III base oils and API SN/ILSAC GF-5 technology. As a co-author of this paper, I know the company sharing blend data in this SAE paper. The API Group III base oils used are commercially available. They are not special, narrower cuts, nor GTL process based, nor do the engine oil blends use Group IV (PAO) nor Group V correction fluids.

In Table 6 of the SAE paper, the engine oil blend #10 meets the SAE 0W-16 specification – and has a 12.0 percent Noack. That is well below the API SN/ILSAC GF-5 volatility 15 percent maximum. In fact, there is ample SAE 0W-16 cold-cranking-simulator viscosity headspace in this cited example (3,850 mPa.s @ -35C versus 6,200 maximum) to raise the base oil blend viscosity, remove some viscosity modifier, and achieve even lower Noack volatility properties. The Group III base stocks allow the formulator flexibility to target a range of SAE 0W-16 finished oil properties (such as reduced Noack volatility) which may be required for tighter OEM specifications than the API and ILSAC 15 percent max volatility specifications.

Looking towards the possible extension of SAE J300 to even lower viscosity grades (perhaps SAE 12 and SAE 8?), there are other examples in Table 6 which meet these proposed SAE multigrade viscosity properties and have 11.8 percent and 12.5 percent Noack properties. These blends were all prepared with well-known, commercially marketed Group III base oils.

While these 12 and 8 grades are under SAE consideration, OEMs are already evaluating fuel economy and engine durability with these advanced engine oil grades in low-friction, internal combustion engine designs.

The current 15 percent Noack volatility limit is not an issue for some of todays Group III base stocks in the new, energy-saving viscosity grades.

Mike Brown, Ph.D.

SK Lubricants Americas

Flemington, N.J.

Consumers Deserve Better

Dear LubesnGreases,

You can not imagine how happy I am to see I am not alone in this world in caring about customers and their choices about the correct engine oil for their vehicles. I urge your writers to continue to emphasize the need for consumers in the USA to make the correct and conscious decision prior to purchasing engine oil; the same principles apply for consumers/end users in Europe as well. Stress the importance of knowing what you buy and whom you buy from – fraudulent products can be found everywhere. Promote the importance of understanding lubricant quality and performance specifications.

Misrepresented products are being sold everywhere in the lubricants market which do not conform to the specifications claimed by their marketers. Unrealized quality and performance claims place consumers/end users and equipment at high risk

and distort the market. Marketers sell emotion and price rather than the actual product itself. It is important to raise the level of specification education to consumers and marketers alike.

The lubricants market nowadays is quite complex and types of lubricants (engine oils) with all their quality specifications (claims), classifications, approvals etc. make it even more complex and frustrating for the end user. But not only end users are facing this dilemma; this very same problem causes havoc also within the majority of distributors, car dealers, franchise workshops, etc.

Misrepresenting lubricants has to end, to protect consumers/end users of lubricants from purchasing products that make incorrect specification and performance claims. Can we change the world for better? I say – Yes, we can!

Rain Hein

MBA Fuels and Lubricants

Tallinn, Estonia

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