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In our lubricant ABC, you will find the most important terms relating to lubricants explained in an easy-to-understand way.
ACEA (Association des Constructeurs Européens d’Automobiles).
ACEA represents 16 major car manufacturers who update and develop the various engine oil categories (e.g. ACEA A3/B4), which set the requirements for individual oils. These categories describe the suitability of the respective engine oils for a specific type of motor and/or exhaust after-treatment technology.
Additives are oil-soluble substances that are added to mineral oils, mineral oil products and synthesis oils. They are tailored precisely for the oil type and their addition serves to change the properties of lubricants, fuels, heating oils, etc. This change in the physical or chemical attributes leads to a marked improvement of your engine oil, for example.
The undesirable chemical transformation of mineral and synthetic products (e.g. lubricants, fuels) in use and storage is referred to as aging. The process is triggered by reactions with oxygen (producing peroxides, hydrocarbon radicals). Heat, light and catalytic effects of metals and other contaminants speed up this oxidation. The process generates acids and sludge. Substances that protect from aging – antioxidants (AO) – serve to delay it.
Used lubricant that has become unsuitable for further use as a special lubricant during use due to aging, contamination, etc.; however, it may still be usable for subordinate lubrication points, such as in the case of loss lubrication. According to the Waste Act, waste oil is defined as used semi-fluid or fluid substances consisting wholly or partly of mineral oil or synthetic oils, including oil-containing residues from containers, emulsions and water-oil mixtures. Six waste oil groups are distinguished, which are to be collected and stored separately.
A barrel is an international measure of capacity. This measuring unit has been in use in the mineral oil industry since the beginnings of oil extraction. The barrels used in the past were cleaned herring barrels that were filled with oil. These barrels had a capacity of exactly 158.99 litres. Even if a standard oil barrel can accommodate around 30% more oil these days, the measuring unit of 1 barrel = 42 US gallons = 159l has still been retained.
The base oil makes up the major portion of a lubricant product. Base oils can be engine oils and gear oils, but also lubricating greases, for example. The type and volume of the respective base oil depends on what a lubricant is meant to be used for. This is determined by the various behaviours of the oil in terms of viscosity, oxidation resistance, friction behaviour and the additives to be used.
Blending is the mixing of mineral oil products and their additivation. If they are mixed in a tank or vat, this is referred to as "batch blending". Continuous mixing in automatic blending systems or in the endpoint additivation for bottling is referred to as "in-line blending".
Special hydraulic fluid for vehicles, with its basic liquid components consisting generally of polyglycols, borate esters and glycol ethers.
The cetane number is a measure describing the ignitability of diesel fuels. The higher the number, the more combustible the diesel fuel, permitting quieter combustion. The cetane number shows how many volume percent of cetane are contained in a mixture with alpha-methyl naphthalene exhibiting the same ignition delay as the diesel fuel to be tested. It is determined as per DIN 51773 in Germany.
The density ρ of a mineral oil or related substance is the quotient of its mass m and volume V at a specific temperature t; it is a substance-specific property. It will increase in substances of the same type as their viscosity rises, and decrease as the quality of the refining level grows: DIN 51757
ρ = m/V
Develops standards concerning properties, requirements and testing methods for manufacturers, distributors and consumers of petroleum products.
DOT stands for »Department of Transport«, a US-Department which, amongst other things, defines the DOT 3, 4, 5 and 5.1 guidelines for brake fluids.
Brake fluids are sometimes differentiated by their boiling point, which always needs to be high enough to avoid bubbling at high temperatures.
Extreme pressure lubricants are lubricating oils or greases containing EP ingredients (polar or metal-active additives and/or solid lubricants, etc.). These permit a greater load absorption capacity. The additives prevent metal surfaces from welding together, which may occur if two surfaces chafe against each other under high pressures or heavy loads. These high-pressure lubricants are for example used in engine oils, transmission oils, hydraulic fluids, etc.
Hydrocarbon compounds with small amounts of oxygen, sulphur, nitrogen and metals, extracted from porous reservoir rocks.
Graphite, molybdenum disulphide, various plastics and heavy metal sulphides. In most cases, these are only required and used for lubrication of machinery operating under extreme conditions.
The flashpoint is the lowest temperature at which a tested liquid in a crucible will give off so much vapour that the resulting vapour and air mixture in the crucible becomes ignitable by external ignition, flares up briefly and then goes out again.
Depending on whether the flashpoint is determined in an open or closed crucible, there are various standards exactly describing the respective test and testing requirements.
Viscosity properties of specific substances, which depend on the type of substance, expressed in flow or viscosity curves.
Cooling agents which contain approximately 90% ethylene glycol and propylene glycol, inhibitors, additives, dyes and a small amount of water as concentrates.
Engine oils that have been alloyed specifically for the particular characteristics and in some cases aggressive properties of various gases.
Main proportion of mineral oils or synthetic oils in mixed or alloyed lubricating oils or in products containing lubricating oil components, e.g. greases. Type and quantity of base oils in a product are decisive for viscosity-temperature behavior, oxidation resistance, additive responsiveness, penetration, friction behavior, etc.
Specifically adapted to the heavy requirements of diesel and petrol engines through the addition of active materials.
Generally thin-bodied, non-water-miscible cooling lubricants are used for honing; their viscosity is approx. 2 to 10 mm²/s at 40°C; the key parameters are honing type, speed, dimensional accuracy, material, type of honing stones, etc.
HTHSV (high temperature high shear viscosity) is the viscosity of a multi-grade engine oil at a specific high temperature and defined high shear speed in a defined measuring vessel by way of a standardized measuring method. This procedure is part of the ACEA classification with minimum requirements for the individual oil categories. The HTHS-viscosity for engine oils is normally determined at 150°C and a shear speed of 10⁶ s−¹. This is meant to simulate the high strain the engine oil is exposed to.
Ageing-resistant, thin-bodied, non-foaming, highly refined pressure fluid for use in hydraulic systems.
High-pressure lubricating oil with EP (Extreme Pressure) additives for improved lubricity and to prevent seizing.
The engine oil classifications developed by the International Lubricants Standardization and Approval Committee (ILSAC) are modelled on the API classifications and were introduced for the Asian region.
Although both classifications (API and ILSAC) consider the chemical and physical requirements for the engine oil, amongst other aspects, there are still regional differences between engines, laws, external conditions and fuels that need to be taken into account accordingly.
Overview of the ILSAC engine oil specifications:
GF-1 – introduced in 1996, modelled on API: SH, obsolete, replaced by GF-2
GF-2 – introduced in 1997, modelled on API: SJ, obsolete, replaced by GF-3
GF-3 – introduced in 2001, modelled on API SL, obsolete, replaced by GF-4
GF-4 – introduced in 2004, modelled on API: SM, obsolete, replaced by GF-5
GF-5 – introduced in 2010, modelled on API: SN
GF-6 – in planning, introduction expected in 2020
Lubricating oil and grease for industrial equipment and machinery.
18 families of products, covering all applications for lubricants, industrial oils and related products to the greatest possible extent
Cold sludge accumulates in the engine crankcase. These deposits are formed from combustion products and condensate when the engine fails to reach its normal operating temperature, which is often the case with stop-and-go (short distances). The accumulation of cold sludge can lead to premature engine wear and engine damage. To prevent this, the following factors can be considered: operating conditions, engine oil quality, oil change intervals and fuel quality.
Chemical compounds (molecules) composed of the elements carbon and hydrogen; subdivided into kerosenes (alkanes), naphthenes (cycloalkanes), aromatics, olefins (alkenes), alkynes, complex hydrocarbons, etc.
Antifreeze is added to the engine coolant to prevent the coolant from freezing in the vehicle engine:
Lubricants for cooling and lubricating when cutting and to some extent, for forming of materials.
Low-viscosity oils are car engine or transmission oils that save fuel in comparison with conventional 15W-40 engine oils or 80W-90 transmission oils by reducing the friction in operation, enabling an easier engine start at low temperatures, and ensuring that the various assemblies are oiled through faster. These are the so-called fuel economy oils or also fuel efficiency oils. Friction can either be reduced by lowering the viscosity, by using specific synthetic base oils and/or by adding friction-reducing additives.
Requirements for fuel economy oils:
ACEA specification A1, B1, C1, C2 or API in conjunction with EC requirements.
LS-active ingredients are used in hypoid gear oils for limited slip differentials, ATF's (automatic transmission fluids) and for bed track oils.
The acronym SAPS stands for the first letters of the English terms sulphated ash, phosphorus, sulphur. A low SAPS engine oil is thus an oil with very low contents of these substances. Given their low tendency to form ashes, these oils are also referred to as low-ash oils. The need to use additives that form less ash for formulating a modern engine oil may sound quite simple, but developing such an engine oil is a real challenge for any lubricant manufacturer.
LSPI - Low Speed Pre Ignition
LSPI is a sudden and unintended ignition of the fuel-air mixture before the actual ignition, which can result in engine damage. This phenomenon usually occurs in heavily supercharged engines with small displacement, but not all vehicle manufacturers are equally affected. High-quality lubricants, in addition to design measures, can help to avoid the unwanted early ignition.
Lubricating oil with very good viscosity-temperature behaviour for all-season use in motor vehicles.
These need to be distinguished as follows:
Metalworking oils for cutting processes:
Collective term for cutting oils, grinding oils, drilling oils, honing oils, milling oils, etc. They are available in water-miscible and water-inmiscible versions. One standardized term for them is also "cooling lubricants". Their main tasks vary depending on the application: lubrication, cooling, friction and wear reduction, chip transport, corrosion protection, etc.
Metalworking oils for forming processes:
Collective term for forming oils, punching oils, drawing oils, deep drawing oils, cold forging oils, etc. These are only available in a water-inmiscible form. Their main tasks also vary depending on the application: lubrication, friction and wear reduction, corrosion protection, cooling, etc.
Mineral oil products are the liquid distillation and refining products obtained from the mineral crude oil.
Serves to lubricate the bearings, the motor, the cylinders and the valve gear in internal combustion engines.
The NLGI grade expresses the relative hardness of a lubricating grease. Lubricating greases are graded in consistency classes on the scale of the National Lubricating Grease Institute (NLGI) in keeping with their worked penetration. To determine the worked penetration, a standardized test cone is allowed to penetrate a grease sample for 5 seconds that has been brought to 25°C and worked, and the penetration depth is measured in 1/10 mm. The greater the penetration depth, the softer the grease.
Chemical reaction with oxygen.
Synthetic hydrocarbons produced from olefins obtained by the steam cracking process.
The pour point is the lowest temperature at which the oil is just still flowing when cooled under defined conditions. It is determined by DIN ISO 3016.
Friction improvers (friction reducers/friction modifiers) are fatty acids, fatty acid derivatives, organic amines, amine-phosphates, mild EP additives and many more.
Friction improvers are designed to lower and/or reduce friction losses or achieve a defined friction performance for the various lubricants. The various application areas in the mixed friction area include the avoidance of friction vibrations (e.g. at guiding ways), of so called slip-stick phenomena, or of noises with automatic transmissions, synchronizer rings and limited-slip differentials. But they are also used for fuel economy engine oils and the controlled friction performance of hydraulic transmission oils (UTTO, STOU) for systems with wet brakes and clutches.
Professional association of US automotive engineers.
Lubricating oils, hydraulic oils and similar viscosity index modifiers are used to improve the viscosity-temperature characteristics.
Accumulates as mineral oils age. Under the influence of air and water, mineral oil products can tend to form oxidants and polymerize. If this phenomenon intensifies, the oxidation products are no longer dispersed in the oil, they precipitate, and form sludge. Modern lean-burn gasoline engines may accumulate a black sludge under specific conditions (aka oil sludge). The influencing factors can include the engine type, operating conditions, nitrogen oxide formation, fuel, engine oil conception, oil change intervals, oil level, oil consumption, etc. There are special engine sludge tests for engine oils as a consequence.
The lubricity identifies the carrying capacity of a lubricant's lubricating film. It always needs to relate to specific conditions. These conditions can include the following factors: friction type, friction condition, material combination of the chafing bodies, lubrication of the contact surfaces, surface loading, speed and temperature. In the case of fluid friction, for example, only the viscosity is decisive for the carrying capacity, but with boundary friction also the erosion prevention capacity. Erosion prevention with the help of EP substances. There is no uniform measure for the lubricity for these reasons.
Lubricating greases are semi-solid to solid mixtures comprising a thickening agent (thickener), base oils and additives. The production process, thickener type and base oils used determine the properties (such as structure, consistency, temperature- and water-resistance, etc.) and thus also the application area of a lubricating grease.
Lubricating greases can be classed by various criteria, including the thickener type. An essential distinction is made between:
• metal soap lubricating greases consisting of fatty acids and metal bases as metal soap thickener (e.g. lithium thickener), and
• soap-free lubricating greases consisting of inorganic or organic thickeners (e.g. polyurea, bentonite)
Metal soap lubricating greases are used for many conventional applications, whereas soap-free lubricating greases lend themselves to special high-temperature applications, amongst others.
Reduce friction and abrasion during sliding or rolling interaction of two moving points, tracks or surfaces.
Water-inmiscible cooling lubricant for cutting metalwork. This is tasked with lubrication, heat dissipation, and thus cooling the tool and workpiece. But it can also take care of the chip transport if the cutting oil streams continuously. Thanks to the reduced friction, the cutting force required is smaller and the wear minimized, which has a positive effect on the surface quality, dimensional accuracy and lifetime of tools.
Cutting oils are usually mixed with a number of additives that lend them a high pressure stability or improve their ability to adhere to surfaces.
As a rule, cutting oils are used wherever the lubricating effect is more important than the cooling effect.
Specifications are requirements for lubricants prescribing physical and chemical properties as well as tests and their test methods. They serve the definition and quantification of requirements to make the buyer's inspection of a product easier upon receipt, for example.
Synthetic lubricants were developed for particular technical application areas and special requirements. They offer more protection and functionality so that the engine will maintain an optimal performance over many years. In comparison with conventional mineral oils, synthetic lubricants are mostly purer and less contaminated.
In addition, they also have strengths in the following areas: high temperature stability, low temperature performance, evaporation loss, oxidation resistance (lifespan fulfilment), high pressure stability, viscosity-temperature behaviour, etc.
UTTO is a universal tractor transmission oil, also for wet brakes and hydraulics in farm tractors and construction machines, but not for engines. UTTO oils offer the advantage that many partly varying applications can be operated with one and the same lubricant. This leads to simplifications for the user in terms of storage and allocation. The manufacturer's instructions for required specifications and viscosity classes must be unfailingly complied with.
Compressor lubricating oils are often used to generate compressed air. This particularly happens in air compressors with oil lubricated pressure chambers and no injection cooling. Compressor lubricating oils can also be used in air vacuum pumps working against a higher than atmospheric pressure. DIN 51506 describes them with and without additives and divides them into groups:
Lubricating oil group:
For mobile air compressors and compressors whose compressed air serves to operate braking, tipping, signalling or conveyance facilities on vehicles – with compression end temperatures
VDL -> up to 220 °C
For air compressors with containers for storing the compressed air or with pipeline networks with compression end temperatures
VDL -> up to 220 °C
Anti-wear additives are lubricant additives designed to prevent chafing between metal surfaces moving against one another (e.g. in transmissions). They initially stick to the metal surface by virtue of their polarity. Once the temperature in the mixed friction area rises due to the friction, these additives are activated and either form chemical compounds at the friction points or ensure physical adsorption. This continuously creates new surfaces at the friction points that prevent or reduce the material abrasion by wear.
The viscosity is a measure for the thickness of a liquid. The higher the viscosity, the thicker the product, and the lower the viscosity, the thinner. High viscosities therefore form thick lubricating films and reliably protect gears and bearings from wear. Especially with engine oils, low viscosities mean less churning loss and thus a higher efficiency with lower fuel consumption. The operating forces in control gears grow with rising viscosity. This can lead to a worsening of the shift comfort if the wrong viscosity is selected.
The viscosity index is a mathematically calculated number on a conventional scale that characterizes the changes of a mineral or synthesis oil product's viscosity with the temperature. A high viscosity index marks a lower viscosity change with the temperature than a low viscosity index and vice versa. Calculation of the viscosity index from the kinematic viscosity: DIN ISO 2909, ASTM D 2270
Ball bearing greases are lubricating greases for lubricating roller bearings, mostly in the NLGI consistency classes 1-3. The lubrication thus reduces the contact between rolling and sliding surfaces in order to decrease the friction and wear in the bearing. Lithium-saponified lubricating greases are used in most cases today. Calcium-soap lubricating greases are also used for special application areas, e.g. with very strong water impact.
Metalworking oils used in cold rolling for wetting of the rollers.
Heat transfer oil is a temperature- and oxidation-resistant mineral or synthesis oil with a high flashpoint that can be used as a heat carrier for cooling or heating. It is a means of heat transportation, so to speak. Important features are: initial boiling point, flashpoint, vapour pressure, fluidity and crack temperature.
The requirements for heat transfer oils Q are defined in DIN 51522.
The Commission for the Evaluation of Substances Hazardous to Water (KBwS) developed the catalogue of substances hazardous to water; classified into 3 water hazard classes.
Two-stroke engine oil is a special type of engine oil that is completely consumed in operation by burning up. Depending on the engine type, use, lubrication system, blendability, blending ratio, corrosion protection, cleaning effect, biodegradability etc., the following two-stroke engine oils are distinguished for lubricating two-stroke gasoline engines:
a) self-mixing (pre-dissolved)
b) non self-mixing (not pre-dissolved) for clean oil automatic (clean oil lubrication)
c) outboard engine oils
Depending on the lubrication system of the two-stroke engine, the required oil is either directly mixed in with the fuel or stored in a separate oil tank.
There are various performance classes for two-stroke engine oils such as the API TC, for example, which is mostly used in two-wheelers, or the NMMA (National Marine Manufacturing Association) TC-W3, which is mostly required by watercraft such as jet skis.
Secondary raffinates are used lubricating oils (waste oils) that have been recycled into secondary raffinates in a refinery. This is done by dewatering, cleaning, distillation, blending and other processes. Depending on the quality of the process technology, the properties of secondary raffinates can almost equal those of primary raffinates.
FAQ - frequently asked Questions
Yes, the compatibility of engine oils must be ensured to allow a top-up at any time. However, you should note that a switch from mineral to synthetic and vice versa will change the quality of the original product. This means that the oil drain intervals will have to be adapted accordingly.
This ultimately depends on the vehicle manufacturer. In recent years, almost all German vehicle manufacturers have introduced longlife engine oils with extended drain intervals. It should, however, be noted that these oils will not lead to extended drain intervals in all engines. Here, your authorized auto repair shop is the best address to contact for advice.
Viscosity is a measure for the thickness or the thinness of a fluid. High-viscosity fluids are thick and flow sluggishly while low-viscosity fluids are thin and flow freely. High-viscosity oils therefore form thicker lubricant films, providing reliable wear protection for gears and bearings. Low viscosities – especially with engine oil – mean reduced splash losses and hence, improved efficiency and reduced fuel consumption. In manual transmissions, the shift forces increase with increasing viscosity, resulting in reduced operational comfort.
Base oils impart basic specific properties to the lubricant which are reflected in the performance of the finished products.
Mineral oils: Hydrocarbon compounds of different shape, structure, type and size (VI: 80-95)
Hydrocracked oils: Refined mineral oils with a higher purity level and an improved molecular structure (VI: 130-140)
Polyalphaolefins (PAOs): Petrochemical synthesis products – chemically synthesized straight-line hydrocarbon compounds (VI: 130-145)
Synthetic esters: Chemically synthesized compounds of organic acids and alcohols consisting of molecules of a defined shape, structure, type and size. (VI: 140-180)
Additives are insoluble compounds and/or active ingredients which are added to the above base oils. They change or improve the lubricant properties through chemical or physical action.
Chemically acting additives:
- Anti-wear additives
- Corrosion inhibitors
Physically acting additives:
- Viscosity Index (VI) improvers
- Anti-foam additives
- Pour point depressants
- Friction modifier
The SAE values designate the viscosity classes of motor vehicle lubricants as standardized by the Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE).
Example: SAE 0W typifies an extremely low-viscosity winter oil corresponding to the lowest viscosity class currently defined. By contrast, SAE 40 designates a high-viscosity summer oil. A multi-grade oil, e.g. SAE 0W-40 provides the same performance as SAE 0W in cold weather and the same performance as SAE 40 in hot weather. They cover the performance requirements for both cold starts at low temperatures and for driving on the motorway at high temperatures.
A low cold viscosity stands for quick engine lubrication during cold starts and hence reduced fuel consumption. A higher high-temperature viscosity stands for a reliable lubricant film at high oil temperatures but also for higher fuel consumption. With advanced engine oils there is a trend towards achieving optimum fuel economy.
When using high-quality base oils, a reduced high-temperature viscosity will also guaranteed a reliable lubricant film at all times.
An excess of oil in the engine is harmful for both the engine and the environment.
Too high an oil level may cause the engine oil to foam so that its lubricating function is impaired. At the same time increased amounts of oil mist will be carried over into the combustion chambers where they are not completely burned. Besides high oil consumption, unburned oil constituents will be entrained with the exhaust and enter the catalyst converter, where they deposit and will reduce the conversion efficiency in the long term. By routinely checking the engine oil, you can see when and how much to top up. In most engines, the difference between the MAX and MIN marks on the dipstick corresponds to roughly 1 litre. Therefore it is recommended to add 0.5 l at time when the oil level has dropped between medium and minimum.
As a matter of principle, the gas fuel system and engine manufacturers’ instructions should be observed. In the absence of engine oil information in the manual, we recommend a low-ash product as used in vehicles with diesel particle filter, for instance. The vehicle manufacturer approvals should, however, always be observed.
Small containers have a minimum shelf life of 5 years (when stored in a dry place at temperatures of between +5 and +30°C without direct exposure to solar radiation). Preferably, the oil should be stored in the basement of your house, for instance – rather than in the garage! Open cans should not be stored for longer than 6 months.
Our brake fluid has an unopened shelf life of 24 months in our plastic containers and 48 months in our sheet metal containers from the date of filling if stored properly.
Our ANTIFREEZE products have an unopened shelf life of up to 60 months from the date of filling if stored properly.