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What’s the Difference between Synthetic and Mineral-Based Oil? New TestOil Webinar Explains.

TestOil, one of the top oil analysis labs in the world, just produced a webinar overview of synthetic oils. The webinar explains the differences between synthetic and mineral-based oils, their properties, strengths and weaknesses. Webinar presenter, TestOil’s Senior Technical Advisor Evan Zabawski, goes over some key points here.

            While synthetic oil can be significantly more expensive than mineral-based oil, in some circumstances the additional cost is justified. Zabawski said, “Synthetic can be worth the cost in large industrial equipment--less downtime, because less degradation--or anywhere a balance can be tipped in favor of longer drain intervals or improved energy efficiency. It can make a difference in performance, but sometimes it is so slight as to not warrant the cost.”

TestOil Industrial Oil Analysis

            As far as oil analysis goes, synthetic oil needs to be tested just as frequently as mineral-based oil. While synthetic is less susceptible to degradation, both oils in the same environment are subject to the same level of contamination—a primary reason for regular oil  analysis.   Contamination is an issue with all fluid, but it is especially significant in industries such as mining, construction and any that involve grinding,   milling or crushing product.

            “Regular oil analysis is important because it isn’t just about the oil, it’s also about the contamination getting into the machine and changes in wear,” Zabawski said. “Most people use oil analysis for machine condition, not just lubricant condition, but even in the case of the latter they understand sampling frequency still needs to have enough data points to trend properly.”

            The tests for synthetic fluids are the same as mineral-based. In addition to contamination, these tests include Acid Number, MPC (varnish), RPVOT, RULER, etc.
            As far as drain intervals, they can be extended for some types of synthetic oils, but this is not always the case. It depends on the applications and what drives the oil change frequency—degradation or contamination.

            TestOil has been testing both synthetic and mineral-based industrial lubricants for 30 years. The company has a number of industry experts on staff, such as Zabawski, that are qualified to answer questions on oil analysis, testing procedures and program setup.

            TestOil President Mary Messuti said, “TestOil is the leading source for those seeking expert advice on oil analysis. Anyone is welcome to call, email us and explore the Knowledge Center on our website. We are here to help. “

            View Evan Zabawski’s Webinar on Synthetic Oils. Visit TestOil’s Knowledge Center for Reference Guides, a Video Library, a Blog and a Glossary of oil analysis-terms.             With more than 30 years of experience in the oil analysis industry, TestOil focuses exclusively on assisting industrial facilities with reducing maintenance costs and avoiding unexpected downtime through oil analysis program implementation. As industry experts in diagnosing oil-related issues in equipment such as turbines, hydraulics, gearboxes, pumps, compressors and diesel generators, TestOil provides customers with a guarantee of same-day turnaround on all routine testing. With in-house, certified training professionals, TestOil offers lubrication and oil analysis training, private onsite training, certification training and exams, and educational webinars. For more information on partnering with TestOil on oil analysis programs or training opportunities visit www.testoil.com.

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