|Engines, transmissions and other mechanical systems contain hundreds of moving parts. All though the metal surfaces of these parts look smooth, they are actually full of microscopic peaks and valleys. When the peak of one surface touches its mating surface, it causes damage. This damage may lead to component failure or wear.
||Failure prevention and wear reductions are the primary functions of any lubrication.
Convention oils- (the oils most people are familiar with) -are refined from crude oil. Refining is a process of heating crude oil and physically separating light oil components from heavy ones (This is a vaporization process, often called "cracking").
Crude oil contains millions of different kinds of molecules. Many are similar in vapor weight but not in structure. The refining process cannot distinguish such molecules, so a wide assortment of molecules are present in the finished lubricant made from crude oil stocks.
Some crude oil molecules are not beneficial to the lubrication process. For example, paraffin causes refined lubricants to thicken and flow poorly in cold temperatures.
||Molecules containing sulfur, nitrogen and other elements invite the formation of sludge and other products of lubricant breakdown, especially in high-temperature applications. Sludge and breakdown products significantly increase wear rate.
The assorted molecules of refined lubricants also have different shapes, making lubricant surfaces irregular at the molecular level. As lubricant layers flow across one another during the lubrication process, these irregularities create fiction, which consumes power, reduces efficiency and increases heat and wear.