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History of base oils


Base oil production technology has gone through several phases of evolution

Base oil production technology has gone through several phases of evolution

Base oil production technology has gone through several phases of evolution. In the first phase, animal fats were used as lubricants. Inscriptions dating to 1400 BC inform of the use of hard fat of pigs and sheep (called pi) to lubricate the wheels of carriages.
During the next 3,000 years, there was little change in this area, and it can be said that only at certain points, the desired oils were obtained from animals such as whales.

In 1852, crude oil-based oils were introduced. Such oils were not considered at first because they did not perform better than animal-based oils. Therefore, it can be said that Crude oil did not produce a good lubricant and in general, the Base oil industry was not in a good situation due to lack of knowledge.

But as demand for automobiles grew, so did the demand for better lubricants, and it was not long before lubricant manufacturers realized which type of crude oil produced the best lubricants. Then They produced better lubricants by converting crude oil into cuts with lower distillation amplitudes and different viscosities.

Prior to 1920, engine oils were free of additives, and after 1,300 to 1,600 km, vehicle oils were changed. Therefore, in 1923, the Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) classified engine lubricants as light, medium, and heavy in terms of viscosity. However, due to the needs of the day, more and more lubricant manufacturers began to refine base oils in order to improve their efficiency.

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From the 1940s, they are widely used in lubricant formulations, especially to prolong the performance and service life of automotive engine oils. Prior to this time, engine oils without additives would typically provide only up to 80 to 100 hours of service. Multigrade automotive engine oils are introduced. Hydroprocessing technologies such as two-stage hydrocracking dramatically improve base oil purification and performance. Modern hydroisomerization technologies (to dewax base oils by transforming wax molecules into high-quality base oil) become widely used. Base oils now known as “Group II” (widely available as of the 1970s) are officially classified as Group II by the American Petroleum Institute. The API subsequently classifies Group III, Group IV and Group V base oils.


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