Splitting hairs on "synthetic" definition?

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Originally Posted By: Garak
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?
Yes fatty acids and alcohols come from nature, but NOT crude oil. And since the very first motor oils were made from crude oil, any chemical compounds derived outside the virtues of crude oil makes them a synthetic. I predict your reply to this post will be about how your definition of "synthetic" differs from mine; which proves my whole point: the word "synthetic" is a relative term. wink
 
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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.
First off it was not politicians it was a court that looked at the evidence presented by two companies and made a decision. The definition was asked for by an engine oil producer, not a bad thing as it set the benchmark for everything that came after. By definition most oils marketed today as full synthetic today are just a semi synthetic, it makes no difference really unless you live in Germany where the tax structure and high retail pricing is different for higher grades of oil. Its convenient to say "the only thing that matters is the specs it meets", that not entirely true when the difference retail is $40-50 a gallon. Its true the gap is closing but there was a huge difference when this happened and there is still a difference between them. IMO there is nothing wrong with truth in advertising. There might not be a lot of difference between a man made diamond and one made by nature in the earth, both come from coal but do you want to pay the same price for it (just the opposite of oil).
 
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Trav, funny that even the US has legislation to define "butter" as being specifically dairy in origin, when all manner of other fats meet the performance requirements of said product. just sayin'...we buy butter in my house.
 
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Why buy real better, the other stuff passes the sniff test, it looks like butter, spreads like butter and taste something like butter, it must be butter. LOL
Originally Posted By: shannow
just sayin'...we buy butter in my house.
In my house too.
 
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Originally Posted By: Merkava_4
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
And this exposes the gap between your knowledge and your preaching. PAO starts from a simple ethylene molecule. Two carbons, two hydrogens. This is found in large volumes in crude oil and gas deposits. It is polymerised to form 1-decene (or similar), which is then oligimerised to make PAOs of the viscosity you are looking for. Using a simple building block, you have synthesised a molecule. The synthesis is what makes it synthetic. "Synthetic" does not refer to the ingredients but to the process. Now let's look at polyol esters. Where do you think those acids and alcohols come from? It all ends up back at the refinery and crude oil (via an intermediary chemical process plant).
 
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Originally Posted By: Merkava_4
I predict your reply to this post will be about how your definition of "synthetic" differs from mine; which proves my whole point: the word "synthetic" is a relative term. wink
Weasley already covered one method of synthesis of Group IV stocks, and there are others, and they don't involve crude. He's also indicated what synthesis means, which is different from refining or fractional distillation. Note that I don't have my own definition of synthetic, nor do you. I haven't written a chemistry textbook, and I don't edit the Compendium, nor do I have a position of authority in IUPAC. Therefore, I cannot define what a synthetic is. Further to that, I don't even work in oil company marketing, nor on an adjudication board for advertising, nor do I sit on a court, so I can't define synthetic from any of those perspectives, either. wink In the end, I do know what a marketed synthetic is versus a technical synthetic. Realistically, we don't know what most of the products marked as synthetic really are, anyhow. There are a few examples we know, but plenty more that we do not. In any case, you use only ILSAC rated fake synthetics anyhow. wink
 
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Originally Posted By: Shannow
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 ?
Nowhere in my argument was I equating a Group II product to "synthetic". Just like no one is trying to say margarine should be called "butter". Are you going to go as far as to state that a severely hydrocracked product is not synthetic?
 
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Just to set the record straight: - The ruling on Group III being synthetic was made by the National Advertising Division (NAD) of the Better Business Bureau and pertained only to a specific Group III+ being used by Castrol at the time. While hearings were held and expert witnesses testified, this was not a "court of law" and the decision was not legally binding. Marketers expanded the ruling to all Group IIIs knowing that no one would challenge it. - The term "synthetic" refers to a process (synthesis), not the origin of the starting materials. The traditional definition of "synthetic basestock" as used for many years by the SAE prior to 1996 when they stepped back from the controversy referred to chemical compounds produced by chemical synthesis and manufactured by organic reactions from relatively pure organic starting materials. This is consistent with most dictionary definitions which define synthesis as the formation of a complex compound by the combination of two or more simpler compounds, elements, or radicals. By these definitions, PAOs, esters, and some Group III+ base oils would be "synthetic" (produced by synthesis) and regular Group III and below would not. However, a more common definition in wide use is that synthetic simply means "made by man" rather than occurring in nature. By this definition, regular Group IIIs would be synthetic since over 90% of the starting molecules are changed by man through hydrocracking, isomerization, and hyrogenation and did not exist in the original mixture. Arguing over which definition is more valid is indeed splitting hairs and an exercise in futility. - Polyol esters are reacted from liquid fatty acids and solid polyol alcohols. The acids may be from either natural sources (coconuts, palm kernels, castor beans, tallow) or from petrochemicals derived from crude oil (olefins). The alcohols are generally made from petrochemicals derived from crude oil (acetaldehyde, formaldehyde, butyraldehyde). The reaction process is synthesis. - Diesters used in synthetic lubricants are reacted from solid dibasic acids and liquid monohydric alcohols. Some of these reactants are made from natural sources (tallow, castor beans) but most are petrochemicals derived from crude oil. The reaction process is synthesis. - PAOs are made from alphaolefins which are made from ethylene derived from crude oil. The process is synthesis. - Some Group III+ would meet the traditional definition of synthesis since they are built up from smaller molecules. Most regular Group IIIs would meet the more common definition of synthetic (made by man) since existing molecules are broken and changed by the actions of man. - Most synthetic motor oils are based on blends of Group III, Group IV, and/or Group V base oils. The manufacturers do not tell us which types are used or the percentages. Guessing is, once again, an exercise in futility. While all of this may be meaningful to purists, from a practical standpoint all we should care about is how the motor oil performs in our engines under our driving styles and conditions. This information can be derived from approvals and certifications by industry groups and OEMs and from published physical properties. Tom NJ
 
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The German case was a court case and did in fact refer to the base stock of the product. Basically if it is derived from crude regardless what you do to it, hydro crack it, refine it or whatever it is not legally synthetic and is not taxed as such. GTL is by definition full synthetic. The US was not a court case as you just a meaningless NAD ruling as you say that took nothing into consideration. I disagree it is not an exercise in futility, without ground oil you could not produce the product, regardless of the process you are still just converting oil into a better oil but its still oil. With GTL you don't need ground oil. Oil from a gas is a 100% man made operation. I don't think anyone is arguing about the quality of the end result and how it will work in an engine, thats probably really splitting hairs. By definition what is a semi synthetic in the USA? A bend of a lesser quality dino oil and a better dino oil or true synthetic and dino like it is in Germany (it can be a mix of IV/V and II/III)? Bitog is a world wide forum so it does matter what the real definition is, not just to the US poster. Prices are based on this unlike in the US where they almost throw this stuff at you on your way out. People would soon change their tune when an oil change on a big sump car engine runs $300+ with a filter, my last OC there was $280 but i know what i have in the sump. Changing the law there would be like giving the oil companies a license to steal. Mobil tried it with slick advertising calling it SHC and charging premium prices.
 
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A synthetic chemical is one made by chemical synthesis as opposed to extraction or refinement. It doesn't matter where the raw materials come from. If it did, than nothing would be synthetic since all raw materials eventually trace back to mother earth, including natural gas. The definition hinges on the process by which the final product is made. One can make a synthetic product by reacting two natural ingredients into a new compound. With respect to lubricants, Germany is the one exception because, as you say, they actually codified the definition of synthetic lubricant base oils into law. That law, however, does not redefine chemical synthesis, which has been established in the chemical industry for decades. It simply clarifies which lubricant base oils may be labeled as synthetic. Tom NJ
 
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Originally Posted By: Quattro Pete
Originally Posted By: Trav
GTL is by definition full synthetic.
Why is Shell Helix Ultra (with PurePlus which is GTL) in Germany classified as "Synthese technologie" then? http://www.shell.de/products-services/on...ultra-5w40.html I suppose the amount of GTL in it isn't high enough to earn the "Voll Synthese" rank?
Is the Helix Ultra 100% GTL? I don't know but i think your probably right not enough GTL. I read some time ago where they wanted GTL to be classified as group III opening the door for all group III to also be called Full synthetic. I read it this in a respectable trade rag but cant vouch for its correctness. Shell claims they use the Fischer Tropsch method which was since before the war and still is regarded as synthetic for oils and fuel. It cant be classified as a group IV thats reserved for AFAIK PAO but i understand it could have been classified as a group V. Why wasn't it? http://www.shell.com/global/products-ser...-catalysts.html I have read to be classified as full synthetic it must have a minimum of 80% full synthetic components so anything below that doesn't legally qualify. Keep in mind this law was written a long time ago when only synthetics could provide the kind of protection associated with them, i don't believe it took possible future development into account. Its basically just a truth in advertising and consumer protection law and nothing to do with setting any sort of standard for oil performance, it also got twisted into the tax laws somehow.
 
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To me in layman's terms,a synthetic oil would have to be made from something that didn't begin as an oil. Since group III oils are made from crude oil,"to me" it's a pseudo synth. Not saying they're bad (see sig as I'm using said pseudo synth). But afaik all otc synthetics are grp III pseudo synths (not sure about API RP though).
 
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Originally Posted By: Tom NJ
Just to set the record straight [...]
Many thanks for your continued insight and sharing of knowledge.
 

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Originally Posted By: Trav
GTL is by definition full synthetic.
Is that a German Law definition or an interpretation of current usage?
 

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Originally Posted By: Tom NJ
A synthetic chemical is one made by chemical synthesis as opposed to extraction or refinement. It doesn't matter where the raw materials come from. If it did, than nothing would be synthetic since all raw materials eventually trace back to mother earth, including natural gas. The definition hinges on the process by which the final product is made. One can make a synthetic product by reacting two natural ingredients into a new compound. With respect to lubricants, Germany is the one exception because, as you say, they actually codified the definition of synthetic lubricant base oils into law. That law, however, does not redefine chemical synthesis, which has been established in the chemical industry for decades. It simply clarifies which lubricant base oils may be labeled as synthetic.
Just wanted to emphasize the points Tom is making. The chemical industry and academia defined a synthetic "whatever" and the "synthesis" process long before marketing and NAD/BBB issues entered into the picture.
 
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