Splitting hairs on "synthetic" definition?

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Ed_Flecko

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Originally Posted By: Tom NJ
Originally Posted By: Ed_Flecko
Are there any consumer grade PAO based, synthetic motor oils and how do you positively know that???
There are only two ways to know the type and percent of base oils used in a motor oil: obtain this information directly from the manufacturer (unlikely), or run a gas chromatography (GC) scan on the oil. GC will distinguish among PAOs, esters, ANs, and petroleum distillates (Groups I, II, and III), but usually will not distinguish among the petroleum distillates (i.e. tell a Group I from a II or III). Base oil blend compositions and percentages can not be reliably determined from physical property data such as pour point, flash point, viscosity index, or volatility, although some general or directional clues can sometimes be deducted from such data. The term "True Synthetic" is obsolete and irrelevant in today's world. Most oils contain optimized base oil blends aimed at specific performance and/or marketing targets, and "True" no longer automatically denotes higher performance. Additives dominate performance and one can easily formulate great conventional oils and poor "true" synthetics. Industry and OEM Approvals are a better indicator of performance than base oil composition. Tom NJ
Thank you Tom...interesting stuff! smile Ed
 
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I agree with Quattro Pete, Tom's contribution should be a sticky. The most important thing, as far as i am concerned as well, is what certifications and/or approvals are met and how the oil performs under standardized tests...that's all.
 
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Originally Posted By: Tom NJ
The term "True Synthetic" is obsolete and irrelevant in today's world. Most oils contain optimized base oil blends aimed at specific performance and/or marketing targets, and "True" no longer automatically denotes higher performance. Additives dominate performance and one can easily formulate great conventional oils and poor "true" synthetics. Industry and OEM Approvals are a better indicator of performance than base oil composition. Tom NJ
Yes. Unfortunately too many times here on BITOG oil choice is made by what group it is (or is perceived to be), and by what elements show up on a Blackstone VOA - or what an outdated German law defines.
 
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Originally Posted By: kschachn
Originally Posted By: BikeWhisperer
Originally Posted By: Merkava_4
Only the 100% Ester based oils are real synthetic. All the others are super refined dino.
So you are saying polyalphaolefin is super refined dino?
In addition, everyone who claims that severe hydrocracking is just "super refined" or "highly refined" oil is talking out the wrong orifice. Good for a sound bite but completely incorrect and uninformed.
I actually read on one of the major oil companies' websites a week or so ago (can't remember off the top of my head which one it was) that said verbatim group 3 synthetic base oils are more highly refined petroleum crudes to get them to their purest state possible.
 
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Originally Posted By: Merkava_4
Only the 100% Ester based oils are real synthetic. All the others are super refined dino.
More wisdom from Mercury and remarkably not even close to accurate.
 
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Originally Posted By: tig1
Since when does Germany or China or Japan or UK or any other country, decide what oil is considered synthetic anyway. The standards I follow are decided here.
Well how about because the Germans invented the process for making it. LOL
 
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I've been here as either a lurker or a member for nine years now. This topic has been beaten to death. The simple answer is that we don't really know how much Grp IV any given oil contains, although we can sometimes glean this information from MSDS sheets or infer it from cold performance results. Not too many of us really care anymore. What we care about are the measured performance numbers an oil turns in as well as how well it seems to hold up in an extended drain as measured in a UOA. We also care about whether an oil can meet demanding certs if we have an application requiring this. Nothing else really matters.
 
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Originally Posted By: fdcg27
I've been here as either a lurker or a member for nine years now. This topic has been beaten to death. The simple answer is that we don't really know how much Grp IV any given oil contains, although we can sometimes glean this information from MSDS sheets or infer it from cold performance results. Not too many of us really care anymore. What we care about are the measured performance numbers an oil turns in as well as how well it seems to hold up in an extended drain as measured in a UOA. We also care about whether an oil can meet demanding certs if we have an application requiring this. Nothing else really matters.
Now this should be a sticky posted somewhere up front so it's the very first thing new members and less enlightened members see prior to asking questions that have been answered a million times or bringing up irrelevance.
 
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Originally Posted By: Clevy
prior to asking questions that have been answered a million times or bringing up irrelevance.
The problem is that we have a million different confusing garbage answers. The Germans aren't confused.
 
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Just because the German politicians decided a definition doesnt mean we have to follow their incorrect decision.
 
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Originally Posted By: Nate1979
Just because the German politicians decided a definition doesnt mean we have to follow their incorrect decision.
Given what the industry definition was originally, you'd rather marketers tell you what to think ?
 
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Originally Posted By: Shannow
Given what the industry definition was originally, you'd rather marketers tell you what to think ?
Yes, through the specifications the oil meets. You'd rather do it by your own analysis and interpretation of the composition?
 
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Originally Posted By: BikeWhisperer
So you are saying polyalphaolefin is super refined dino?
No I didn't say that. What I'm saying is I don't believe Group IV Polyalphaolefin based oils are a real synthetic. If you want a real synthetic, get a Group V Polyol Ester based motor oil. I like the way Bror Jace puts it:
Originally Posted By: Bror Jace
2) In terms of temperature, I believe that esters offer similar low-temp performance when compared to PAO, maybe even slightly superior. At the other end of the scale, it is no contest. Esters rule the high temp end of the temperature scale surpassing PAO's ability to lubricate by a 100 degrees Fahrenheit or more. I've seen tests which show that PAOs tend to form hard deposits when pushed passed their high-temp limits. And at these temperatures (say, in a turbocarger) esters are still doing their job with little problem. This is why esters can be used in jet turbines while PAOs can't. Verdict: Mobil's comments are one sided and imply that esters do not compare favorably with PAO across a full temperature range (again, highly misleading).
PAO vs Polyolester Basestocks
 
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Aren't there Esters used in Liquimoly Motor Oil Saver? I thought someone brought that up once or twice during discussion of additives that work for rear main seal leaks and fixes. Dont Valvoline Maxlife Synthetics have some ester in them too? So I used Pennzoil Ultra with a can of MOS does that make my oil "synthetic" or just group 3? I can remember the lawsuit from mobil1 but I cant fully remember how it turned out. In general I thought anything not from the ground was synthetic or am I behind the times on info? Thanks
 
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Originally Posted By: Marco620
I can remember the lawsuit from mobil1 but I cant fully remember how it turned out.
Here you go: "Some confusion has arisen recently regarding the use of the word “synthetic.” Several petrochemical companies have developed processes involving catalytic conversion of crude oil base stock under high pressures and temperatures in the presence of hydrogen to form very high-quality mineral lubricants. These oils, which are known as API Group III, are so highly refined that their properties almost match that of the Group IV synthetics. They are so close in fact that the U.S. court system sided with a manufacturer of these Group III “synthetics” when a lawsuit was brought up for false advertising. Even though these Group III base oils are derived from crude oil, they can now legally, from a marketing standpoint, call them synthetic." Machinery Lubrication
 
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Originally Posted By: Merkava_4
Originally Posted By: Marco620
I can remember the lawsuit from mobil1 but I cant fully remember how it turned out.
Here you go: "Some confusion has arisen recently regarding the use of the word “synthetic.” Several petrochemical companies have developed processes involving catalytic conversion of crude oil base stock under high pressures and temperatures in the presence of hydrogen to form very high-quality mineral lubricants. These oils, which are known as API Group III, are so highly refined that their properties almost match that of the Group IV synthetics. They are so close in fact that the U.S. court system sided with a manufacturer of these Group III “synthetics” when a lawsuit was brought up for false advertising. Even though these Group III base oils are derived from crude oil, they can now legally, from a marketing standpoint, call them synthetic." Machinery Lubrication
Court proceedings are a matter of public record. If this happened the proceedings will be available to read. Off you go, pleased post links here. I can quote any number of 'sources', it doesn't make them right. Machinery Lubrication are not a primary source of information, they are just replaying what they have read/heard. The court thing comes up so often that it has become embedded as internet FACT. And as for esters = real synthetic... you know how they are made, right? You know where the feedstocks for the process come from? Look around you - everything you can see started life under the ground or growing above it.
 
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Originally Posted By: Merkava_4
No I didn't say that. What I'm saying is I don't believe Group IV Polyalphaolefin based oils are a real synthetic. If you want a real synthetic, get a Group V Polyol Ester based motor oil.
What a Charlie Foxtrot of a thread, and I know I'm going to regret posting here. Your quote still doesn't demonstrate why you don't "believe" Group IV based oils to be synthetic. They are technical synthetics, like it or not. I'm not positive, and we need TomNJ, Mola, or another in the know to straighten things out for sure, but I was under the impression that in addition to esters, Red Line also had a good dose of PAO.
 
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Originally Posted By: Garak
Your quote still doesn't demonstrate why you don't "believe" Group IV based oils to be synthetic.
Because Group IV Polyalphaolefin basestocks are still derived from mineral oil. Polyol Ester basestocks on the other hand are derived from fatty acids and alcohols. When's the last time you've seen fatty acids and alcohols in crude oil? wink
 
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No, not necessarily. PAOs do essentially "come from the ground" if one wants to be picky, but if one also wishes to be picky, fatty acids and alcohols come from nature, too, don't they? I would suggest that the historical definition for "synthetic" when it refers to base stocks is based upon the notion that said base stocks can be formulated in the lab by a variety of means without petroleum products. However, that doesn't preclude petroleum base stocks or byproducts as raw materials either, now does it? The chemistry of alkenes is well studied and there are plenty of reactions and uses. There are enough topics in that subject alone for fodder for multiple PhD and Masters theses in the field of chemistry. I have no problem with marketing Group III/III+ as synthetic, though I am well aware of the definition of technical synthetics, and those are Group IV and V for a reason. I prefer to let IUPAC member organizations and IUPAC itself regulate definitions in the field of chemistry, not marketing departments, advertising review boards, or legislators. That being said, I have no problem with a Group III being called a synthetic. I know the difference between a "synthetic" and a technical synthetic just the same as I know the difference between "work" and the product of force and displacement. But, the unemployment office isn't going to be issuing a directive to me on what units to use in a a calculation of force times distance.
 
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Originally Posted By: kschachn
Originally Posted By: Shannow
Given what the industry definition was originally, you'd rather marketers tell you what to think ?
Yes, through the specifications the oil meets. You'd rather do it by your own analysis and interpretation of the composition?
So which specifications would YOU use to determine that an oil is "synthetic" ? Would any dino that meets those specs also be "synthetic" ? Would TGMO not be able to be labelled "synthetic" anymore because it only meets SN/GF5 ?
 
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