Base Oil Groups: Understanding Properties and Applications

Lubricants play an integral role in how our world functions. Automobile and truck engines the biggest consumers of lubricants worldwide, using 20 million tons per year, which means that motor oils often help to drive this industry. They’re also used in industrial applications, cooking, the medical field, and virtually any other sector you can imagine. Just about every lubricant begins as a base oil, which is typically produced during the crude oil refining process.

There are numerous types of premium base oils that you can obtain from base oil suppliers. But in order to determine which type of base oil will best suit your application, you’ll want to learn a bit more about what’s available to you. The American Petroleum Institute (or API) has categorized the different types of base oils into five distinctive groups. Understanding these class distinctions will prove essential when conducting business with base oil suppliers to choose the right product.

The characteristics of base oils that are used to determine their performance may include:

  • Pour point
  • Viscosity and viscosity index
  • Purity
  • Volatility
  • Thermal stability
  • Hydrolytic stability (water resistance)
  • Oxidation
  • Sulfur and saturate content

Group I

Generally speaking, Group I base oils are made using solvent extraction or solvent refining processes, which are meant to remove any undesirable aspects of the original oil. When you work with base oil plants to obtain products from this group, these oils will be classified as having less than 90% saturates and greater than 0.03% sulfur. Their viscosity index range will be anywhere from 80 to 120 and their temperature range extends from 32 to 150 degrees Fahrenheit. Although these are among the most affordable base oils available and make up the largest category in the global marketplace, the demand for these oils is on the decline. However, they are still readily used in certain engine oils, industrial applications, and marine lubricants.

Group II

Like Group I base oils, Group II base oils are considered to be mineral oils. They contain more than 90% saturates and less than 0.03% sulfur, while offering a viscosity index range of 80 to 120. They tend to have improved anti-oxidation properties, as compared to Group I oils. That said, they are more expensive and are manufactured in a more complex way (through a process called hydrocracking). But since the vast majority of lubricants used worldwide can be made from Group II base oils, it makes sense that this particular category is the most popular.

Group III

Considered by many to be the best grade of petroleum base oil, Group III oils contain greater than 90% saturates and less than 0.03% sulfur. One of the biggest differences is that their viscosity index range extends above 120. While they’re made in similar ways to Group I oils, Group III oil creation involves higher pressures and temperatures. As a result, these oils are purer and more desirable. Group III base oils are becoming more prevalent, particularly as automobile fuel economy increases in importance.

Group IV

Unlike the first three base oil categories, which are all mineral oils, Group IV base oils are polyalphaolefins — synthetic base oils that are created through a much different process (aptly called synthesizing). As your base oil supplier will tell you, this can be used to create products with wider temperature ranges and thermal stability in challenging conditions. In fact, their viscosity index ranges may reach 140. They also have improved oxidation stability. But while this is the most readily used type of synthetic base oil, it’s important to know that the solubility, lubricity, and strength of these oils can be a detriment. And because of cost and availability, they will never be as widely used as the mineral base oils outlined above.

Group V

This is the group with the most variety, as it’s the catch-all category for all other base oils (including polyesters, diesters, polyalkylene gycols, silicones, naphthenic oils, phosphate esters, biolubes, and more). Essentially, if the oil is synthetic and is not a polyalphaolefin, it’s classified as a Group V oil. In many cases, Group V oils are used as a supplement to other base oils, rather than being used as a base on their own.

As one of the leading base oil suppliers, we’re here to help you choose the right product for your application. To find out more, contact us today.

3 Industries That Rely On White Oils

White oils are invaluable to our modern day society. Although they’re actually clear, not white, they are extremely pure, stable, colorless, odorless, non-toxic, and chemically inert highly refined mineral oils. As a result of these beneficial properties, they are used in a wide variety of industries. Let’s take a look at three industries that heavily rely on white mineral oils to do their jobs.

  • Pharmaceutical/cosmetic: Unsurprisingly, oils are quite important in the health and beauty business. Because they offer excellent hydration and emollience (or softness), certain white oils are immensely compatible with skin; low irritancy and comedogenicity (which means they have been shown to cause breakouts) make these white mineral oils ideal for cosmetic solutions.
  • Phytosanitary: The phytosanitary industry has to do with the protection of crops, plants, trees, and livestock from harmful insects and pests. White oils play a key role in creating the products — from pesticides to insecticides to fungicides — that are used to do just that. Many white oil manufacturers are held to the high standards of the Pharmacopoeias, an official publication that contains a list of medicinal drugs with their effects and directions for their use, to ensure that the household insecticides, tree-protecting sprays, cattle sprays, crop pesticides, and plant sprays don’t negatively impact the people that will inevitably consume them.
  • Polystyrene: Polystyrene is a type of polymer with thermoplastic properties used for molding and extrusion. The demand of such a vast industry requires its white oil to offer reliable filling of complex molds, good mold-release properties to help control surface finish, easy transforming abilities, and consistent optical and mechanical isotropy in the finished products. Paraffinic oil is often used in the manufacture of polystyrene, explaining why the U.S. produced 29 million barrels of it in 2018.

White oils are held to extremely high standards to ensure compliance with the stringent food and pharmaceutical regulations.  The supply line itself is vital: if white oil manufacturers aren’t sending quality mineral oil to their clients, then their clients can’t produce quality products. Finding the best white oil manufacturer for your needs is one of the best investments you can make for your company.

Renkert Oil Sponsors 2019 Chemistry of Thermoplastic Elastomers Award

Each year, the Chemistry of Thermoplastic Elastomers Award is bestowed to honor significant contributions made to the advancement of the chemistry of thermoplastic elastomers. Renkert Oil, LLC was proud to sponsor this year’s award, which was first established by Rubber Division, ACS in 1991 as part of its continuing effort to recognize the contributions of scientists in this field. The U.S. is the world’s number one producer and consumer of oil, and since Renkert Oil’s clients often include businesses that rely on thermoplastic elastomers (also known as thermoplastic rubbers) to create their products, we have a vested interest in promoting the innovations of chemical researchers in this sector.

This award is specifically given to a researcher who has made outstanding contributions in the field of thermoplastic elastomer chemistry. Emphasis is typically placed on innovations that have brought about new additions to commercial or patentable materials; patentable innovations in process chemistry used in the production of new thermoplastic elastomers, therefore, are eligible for this award.

This year’s recipient, who was honored on May 1, was Virginia Tech Professor Tim Long. Professor Long was granted a $4,000 prize and engraved plaque to commemorate his contributions. Professor Long can now add the Thermoplastic Elastomers Award to his long list of recognitions — which include being named a AAAS Fellow, Virginia Outstanding Scientist of the Year, and various chairmanships and other research awards.

Although Renkert Oil is known as one of the top white mineral oil manufacturers and base oil suppliers in the nation, our organization is also an industry leader in premium process oil supply. We work regularly with clients who utilize these oils in rubber manufacturing, creating everything from footwear and textiles to insulation and adhesives. We are proud to support the ongoing innovation of outstanding researchers who further the development of thermoplastic elastomers.

As an independent oil distributor founded in 1987, Renkert Oil provides the high-quality products and services our clients need to make their own mark in history. Whether you need white mineral oil for an exciting food product or require Renoil products to reduce oil mobility in thermoplastic elastomers and other types of rubber, we’re here to help. For more information on our oils and how we can improve your end products, please contact us today.

New High MW Renoil Process Oils Reduce Car Interior Fogging and Mobility in Food Contact

Renkert Oil is proud to announce that its new Renoil products have received quality approval and are now available to manufacturers.

Our product testing has revealed the positive impacts of these higher MW oils and their effect on automotive fogging and oil mobility for food contact applications.

Details of the experiments were presented in a paper at the November 2017 Global TPE conference in Munich, Germany. See the report.

40% reduction in car interior fogging

Hot car interiors need Renoil high MW oil for 40% less fogging.

To complement and extend our range of Chevron ParaLux premium process oils, we created these new Renoil Low Volatility Oils. The Renoil LV products are clear with 1000 and 1500 SUS @ 100F viscosity, and feature high flash points and high molecular weights.

Although Chevron ParaLux 6001 has been the standard for passing automotive interior fogging requirements, our testing proved that Renoil 1500-LV performs even better. It reduces fogging by over 40%, providing another tool for producing optimal color match soft touch TPEs.

Star Thermoplastics logo ( Renoil user for reduced fogging car interior parts manufacturing).Our engineers recently worked with leading TPE manufacturer Star Thermoplastic Alloys and Rubber to manufacture finished car interior components. They also reported a full 40% less fogging than the best-option oil they had been using.

Reduced oil mobility in food / medical applications

Colorful, flexible toothbrush handles can be manufactured with Renoil process oil.Renkert has also added a range of high MW specialty products to our food grade mineral oils lineup.

Renoil High Viscosity White Oils were created to deliver added flexibility.

These HV oils are designed for use without thickeners, so manufacturers can simplify formulations. The increased viscosity and MW also reduce the mobility of the oil as a component in polymer packaging.

Contact us for a consultation and find out if Renoil products are right for you.

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Renoil LV Process Oils for high-temp, anti-fogging applications
Renoil HV White Oils for food and medical applications

Renkert Oil Exhibits Transformer Oils at 2016 IEEE Conference

Join us at the Renkert Oil booth at the biannual IEEE Power & Energy Society T&D Conference and Exposition.

Renkert exhibits transformer oil at IEEE conference.
Renkert’s VOLTRO team: Mike Burnett, Stacy Esco, Mark Sansing and Mark Proudfoot

We’ll be featuring our VOLTRO™ brand electrical insulating oils, which extend the life of transformers while minimizing the need for maintenance.

This industry event, held in Dallas on May 2-5, 2016, will feature more than 700 companies and thousands of professionals from 80+ countries. At the T&D industry’s most collaborative show,  you can discover new ideas, emerging technologies and innovative products.

As a supplier, we look forward to the opportunity to meet with industry colleagues at utilities and original equipment manufacturers, as well as engineers and researchers. We’ll discuss industry dynamics, provide technical insight about our products, consider commercial possibilities and answer questions from our major customers.

Stop by our booth, #6030, and say hello.

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Conference details and registration

Renkert Oil Corporate Social Responsibility Recognized

EcoVadis performed a CSR assessment of Renkert Oil over the past two years.  In 2015, we received a bronze award in recognition of the policies and processes we Renkert Oil received a bronze EcoVadis award for corporate social responsibility in 2015.have in place.  Our customers have access to the full report and supporting documentation as part of the EcoVadis subscription.

The independent auditor focuses on sustainable supply management that facilitates information exchange on CSR issues between buyers and sellers.

EcoVadis aims to improve the environmental and social practices of companies by leveraging the influence of global supply chains.

The first collaborative platform enabling companies to monitor the sustainability performance of their suppliers, EcoVadis services are available across 150 sectors and 99 countries.

EcoVadis provides reliable ratings and easy-to-use monitoring tools that allow companies to manage risks and drive eco-innovations in their global supply chains.

Renkert Oil continues to use EcoVadis to evolve our corporate social responsibility goals and policies.

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About the company
Our supply chain management

Renkert Oil Receives 100% Quality Approval from Fermi NOvA Project

Renkert Oil has completed the final delivery of blended scintillator for the Fermi NOvA project.

Renkert’s participation in this US government project was deemed a great success, with 100% quality approval and no rejections of more than 2.75 million gallons of ultra-pure scintillator fluid supplied. Renkert Oil blended the scintillator based upon our superior technical white mineral oil.

Learn more about this massive physics experiment on the Fermilab site.

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Renkert Oil products and services

Renkert Delivers for Fermi NOvA Project

Renkert Oil began production deliveries of Fermi Lab NOvA project scintillator detector fluid November 5, 2012. The scintillator, which is used to detect neutrinos, is being installed in a very large detector in Ash River, MN.

Renkert Oil has been responsible for providing high purity Renkert produced this scintillator fluid for the Fermi NOvA project.mineral oil and blending it with Pseudocumene and various wave shifter powders and antistatic ingredients to produce the finished scintillator.

Extreme care is taken to produce a scintillator that meets NOvA’s stringent requirements. A dedicated facility was constructed in Hammond, IN, which precisely combines these components and prevents contamination. The end product is a scintillator fluid that is crystal clear but emits a blue glow from interaction with neutrinos.

This is a critical component in the massive Ash River detector. As the installation of the Scintillator ramps up to scheduled rates, Renkert will be shipping about 135,000 pounds per week to Minnesota.

Currently we have 1.6 million pounds of finished and approved scintillator in stock and will perform regular production blends to meet NOvA’s needs. We anticipate three years of production to complete this project.

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Renkert’s Pure Mineral Oils

Renkert Wins FermiLab Contract

Renkert Oil has been awarded a three-year contract to supply high purity mineral oil to FermiLab for their $278 million physics experiment.

The oil is used in a large detector to be constructed in Minnesota. In total, 10,000 MT (3 million gallons) of oil will be used. Renkert Oil will provide the mineral oil out of their Riverdale, IL facility where tight control of properties allows the Renoil 70-T to meet FermiLab’s exacting standards. Very high clarity is required to ensure that the photocell detectors will be able to measure every neutrino collision in the detector.

In the project, the Fermi Accelerator in Batavia, IL will beam neutrinos through the earth to the Canadian border. There, the detector will measure how many and what “flavor” arrive at the destination (800 km). The project is designed to learn more about these hard to detect neutrinos.

The path of the neutrinos is shown below (as deep as 10 km below the Earth’s surface).

Renkert Oil supplies the Fermilab physics experiment.
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Renkert’s line of white mineral oils