How difficult to "create" a synthetic oil

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70
Location
Upper Midwest
Seems like theres only a few manufacturers of base oils, and the additive market is limited also. So how hard is it to create a high quality synthetic? Does Lubrizol have standard "packages" of additives to be mixed with the base oils? How much customization is available from the additive companies? Seems like some of the oil marketers dont have much in the way of labs; used more for quality control rather than "research"!
 
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418
Location
OR
I was thinking the same thing. Just about anyone with a couple spare buckets could become an oil company. Just buy the base stock and buy the additive package and start blending away. Off course there's minor details such as marketing, certification, vendor purchasing relationships, etc. What color dye would you choose for your oil? How about florescent orange so it would be easier to see on a dipstick.
 

MolaKule

Staff member
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21,725
Location
Iowegia - USA
Q: "Seems like theres only a few manufacturers of base oils, and the additive market is limited also. So how hard is it to create a high quality synthetic?" A; It is rather difficult to create a full synthetic PAO or ester base oil from scratch. First you need raw materials for the PAO or ester, and then you need reactor vessels and catalyst chemicals. It gets expensive. If you go to synthetic base oil suppliers, you had better be willing to purchase 55 gallon drums at a minimum. An education or educational background in organic chemistry, tribology, mechanical engineering, and physics is a must. Q: " Does Lubrizol have standard "packages" of additives to be mixed with the base oils?" A: Yes, as does Ciba Geigy, RT Vanderbilt, Ethyl, etc. Many additive companies may supply a complete package or specialize in one type of additive or additives. ATF adds, for example, usually come in a package specifically designed for your base oil(s) and the ATF type, except for the new Chrysler ATF+4 catagory. Q: "How much customization is available from the additive companies?" A: How much do you want to pay and how many non-disclosure agreements do you want to sign? Comment: "Seems like some of the oil marketers dont have much in the way of labs; used more for quality control rather than "research"!" Response: Labs are used for many purposes such as for formulation, formulation analysis, testing, qualification, statistical analysis, etc. The smaller formulators may use outside labs for testing and qualification. Creating an oil for a niche market can get expensive. It is not for the faint hearted. [ July 02, 2003, 03:23 PM: Message edited by: MolaKule ]
 
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47,716
Location
Duvall WA - Pacific NW USA
Hard to follow Mola's great answer And just as hard to blend oil....sure wham lots of Moly, oh yeah people want esters, Boron shoot gotta have that - ah dang TBN is [email protected] some more...and some of this and DANG TOO expensive.....oh what do you mean they are going to sue? How did I know that would eat his bearings? Lawyers aren't cheap.
 
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8,467
Location
Colorado
You know, this is a very interesting question. According to what I have been able to find out, many companies that make motor oil get their base stocks from the same sources. And there are additive companies that supply additive packages. So when you really stop and think about it, is there really such a difference between Brand A and Brand B motor oils, if they happen to be using the same base stocks and getting additive packages from the same additive company. Of course, maybe the company that supplies additives 'taylors' the additive package according to the needs and desires of each company buying the additive packages. All of this could explain, I think, why Chevron, to name one example, may be able to produce better conventional motor oils than some other companies. Chevron is producing its own base stocks and I believe makes its own additive packages. Another company that has to buy its base stocks and buy its additive packages has less control over the final product.
 
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