Automotive Technology

Lab Assignment No.1
(NS) Muhammad Yawar DE-30 Mechanical Reg. No. 461

Engine Lubricants:
The function of the lubricant is to provide lubrication to moving or sliding parts of an internal combustion engine. There are many other functions that the lubricating oil must perform, as will be mentioned later.
Engine oil lubricates the following
    

Piston motion in cylinder; Crankshaft rotation in engine bearings; Piston pin rotation in the bush of small end of the connecting rod; Camshaft rotation in camshaft bearings; Cams sliding over the valves rods. The oil forms an oil film over sliding surfaces to protect them from wear, corrosion and rusting. The oil circulates around the engine and aids in heat transfer and heat dissipation. It also cleans the engine parts from deposits such as sludge etc. It also creates a seal between the piston and the cylinder.

Engine lubricant types: 1) Mineral Oils: These are products of refining crude oil. Mineral oil is derived after the process of fractional distillation takes place and petroleum is split into different parts. Thus, mineral oil that is used as a lubricant, has a natural origin and is made up of alkaline and cyclic paraffin. Mineral oil is produced in huge quantities after fractional distillation. Before the innovation and commercial development of synthetic oil as a lubricant, mineral oil was predominantly used as a mechanical lubricant. 2) Synthetic oil is basically an artificially prepared oil, that is made from a perfected process and uses highly developed and sophisticated formulae. The primary synthetic oils that first appeared in USA, were polyolefin based lubrication oils. Till date, the maximum brands of synthetic oil that have been manufactured, are polyolefin based. Parallel to the brands that are based on polyolefin, many manufacturers have also come up with synthetic oil lubricants that are based on polyesters, polyglycols, non-PAO synthetics, esters, alkylated naphthalene and alkylated benzene. The mechanical and chemical engineers of these oil manufacturers, constantly strive to make better and better formulae, in order to provide an excelling lubrication that would make the car engine sing. The only basic difference between synthetic oil and mineral oil, apart from its manufacture and origin, is the molecular and particulate structure of both the lubricants. Synthetic oil being a perfected product has a very even and uniform structuring of molecules and particulates. On the other hand, mineral oil contains uneven and less uniform molecules as compared to synthetic oil. Now, when the car, engine, piston and piston block is new, it is always advisable to use, mineral oil. The uneven molecular structure of mineral oil makes the

uneven surfaces of the components and auto parts rub with each other and erode, thus making the surface even and smooth. This is very useful, as the young components of the engine get into shape and adapt to the mechanism. As the engine grows older, the components get into shape and start running swiftly without any friction. This is where one should start using synthetic oil. This oil basically keeps the engine in shape and helps in increasing the durability of the engine. The cost of the synthetic oils is nearly twice that of mineral oils. But the synthetic oils also last more than twice the life of mineral oils and still maintain their properties. Heat and oxidation are the primary reasons for oil break down. Petroleum-based lubricants are mixtures of several sizes of hydrocarbon molecules, sulphur, paraffins, salts and metals. With different evaporation, oxygenation and burn points for each size and type of molecule, the refined petroleum-based oils start changing to an extent the moment you start your car. In time, a lubricant will have a diminished ability to perform its job, which is to lubricate metalto-metal contact surfaces in machinery and to transfer heat away from the area being lubricated. The diminished ability to lubricate increases as the molecules of various size and weight are consumed by evaporation and oxidation. Lubrication ability may continue to diminish as these various molecules interact with the blow-by gases and other contaminants in the engine environment. Additives are used to control acid, stabilize viscosity, and keep soot in suspension. The additives are typically consumed as they do their job. Therefore, in many cases, but not all cases oil needs to be changed at familiar intervals of 3,000 or 5,000 miles. Synthetics are more uniform. Synthetic oils are much more thermally stable as a result of this uniformity. For instance, synthetic oils need less Viscosity Index improver additive to keep their viscosity stable. Synthetic oil additives may be higher quality or at least work longer. Synthetics may have better viscosity film strength than petroleum stocks at elevated temperatures (greater than 176°F/80°C). Film strength indicates a lubricant’s ability to occupy the space between two metal surfaces under pressure or heat. However the final straw is the fact that many synthetics have a much higher base number (BN) retention than petroleum-based formulations. The BN is contributed by over base additives such as detergents and is a measure of a lubricant’s ability to neutralize acid. The longer a lubricant can resist turning to acid, the longer it can be used. From the above discussion it is evident that the advantages of synthetic oil outweighs its disadvantages and hence synthetic oils must be used.

SAE-oil rating:
The Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) established a viscosity grading system for engine oils based on the time taken by them to flow through an orifice.

According to the SAE viscosity grading system all engine oils are divided into two classes: monograde and multigrade:

Monograde engine oils

Monograde engine oils are designated by one number (20, 30, 40, 50, etc.). The number indicates a level of the oil viscosity at a particular temperature. The higher the grade number, the higher the oil viscosity. Viscosity of engine oils designated with a number only without the letter “W” (SAE 20, SAE 30, etc.) was specified at the temperature 212°F (100°C). These engine oils are suitable for use at high ambient temperatures. Viscosity of engine oils designated with a number followed by the letter “W” (SAE 20W, SAE 30W, etc.) was specified at the temperature 0°F (-18°C). The letter “W” means winter. These grades are used at low ambient temperatures.

Multigrade engine oils

Viscosity of engine oils may be stabilized by polymeric additives (viscosity index improvers). Viscosity of such engine oils is specified at both high and low temperature. These oils are called multigrades and they are designated by two numbers and the letter “W” (SAE 5W30, SAE 15W30, SAE 20W50, etc.). The first number of the designation specify the oil viscosity at cold temperature, the second number specifies the oil viscosity at high temperature. For example: SAE 15W30 oil has a low temperature viscosity similar to that of SAE 15W, but it has a high temperature viscosity similar to that of SAE 30. Multigrade oils are used in a wide temperature range. The most popular multigrade engine oil in the North America is SAE 10W30. In multigrade oils, Polymers are added to a light base (5W, 10W, 20W), which prevent the oil from thinning as much as it warms up. At cold temperatures the polymers are coiled up and allow the oil to flow as their low numbers indicate. As the oil warms up the polymers begin to unwind into long chains that prevent the oil from thinning as much as it normally would. The result is that at 100 degrees C the oil has thinned only as much as the higher viscosity number indicates. Another way of looking at multi-viscosity oils is to think of a 20W-50 as a 20 weight oil that will not thin more than a 50 weight would when hot. Multigrade oils have a large quantity of additives in them and this increases with the range of the oil. The polymers can shear and burn forming deposits that can cause ring sticking and other problems. 10W-40 and 5W-30 require a lot of polymers(synthetics excluded) to achieve that range. This has caused problems in diesel engines, but fewer polymers are better for all engines. The wide viscosity range oils, in general, are more prone to viscosity and thermal breakdown due to the high polymer content. It is the oil that lubricates, not the additives. Oils that can do their job with the fewest additives are the best. Hence only the oil with the narrowest range should be used.

Very few manufacturers recommend 10W-40 anymore, and some threaten to void warranties if it is used. It was not included in this article for that reason. 20W-50 is the same 30 point spread, but because it starts with a heavier base it requires less viscosity index improvers (polymers) to do the job. AMSOIL can formulate their 10W-30 and 15W-40 with no viscosity index improvers but uses some in the 10W-40 and 5W-30. Other multigrade synthetics may not use VI improvers either. The full literature available from the oil company should include this information. Viscosity Index is an empirical number indicating the rate of change in viscosity of an oil within a given temperature range. Higher numbers indicate a low change, lower numbers indicate a relatively large change. The higher the number the better. Flash point is the temperature at which an oil gives off vapors that can be ignited with a flame held over the oil. The lower the flash point the greater tendancy for the oil to suffer vaporization loss at high temperatures and to burn off on hot cylinder walls and pistons. The flash point can be an indicator of the quality of the base stock used. The higher the flash point the better. Pour point is 5 degrees F above the point at which a chilled oil shows no movement at the surface for 5 seconds when inclined. This measurement is especially important for oils used in the winter. This is the temperature at which the oil will pump and maintain adequate oil pressure. The lower the pour point the better. In light of the above mentioned facts, it is my opinion that a synthetic multigrade oil with minimum range possible should be used. 20W-50 or 20W-40 should be used in Pakistan as the temperature rarely goes below zero.