Martin Curran – Esters in Modern Low Viscosity Engine Oils for Improved Fuel Economy and Lower Carbon Emissions


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The continued drive towards increased fuel economy and reduction in CO2 emissions has forced OEMs and lubricant formulators to look to new engine lubricant technology.

Low viscosity is a key property of fuel economy focused engine oils; hence the introduction of the new low viscosity
grades 0W-16, 0W-12 and 0W-8. It is not fully clear if the needs of these new viscosity grades can be met with current
Group II, Group III, Group IV or GTL technology.

This paper will outline some of the key performance characteristics of esters in general and the advantages of using low viscosity esters to formulate 0W-16, 0W-12 and 0W-8 engine oils. The performance of esters will be compared with other commercially available low viscosity basestocks. The paper will include formulation studies of 0W-16, 0W-12 and 0W-8 oils and demonstrate the frictional performance of these oils. It will demonstrate that, at equivalent viscosity, esters can provide an additional reduction in friction compared with Group III basestocks. It will also demonstrate that esters can reduce wear in very low viscosity engine oils. This is very important, as increased wear is a major concern for OEMs when considering switching to 0W-16, 0W-12 and 0W-8 oils.


Lubricants Market Applications
Croda Europe Ltd.

Martin Curran grew up in Dublin, Ireland and graduated with a PhD in Chemistry from the National University of Ireland. After university, he worked for six years with Reckitt Benckiser in Italy and China. In 2004, he joined Infineumโ€™s Crankcase Technology Department where he developed additive packages for automotive engine oils. At Infineum, he held various technical and customer facing roles supporting their major engine oil customers. This included development of factory fill oils for passenger car motor oils (PCMO) and heavy-duty diesel (HDD) OEMs.

Martin joined Croda in 2013 as Market Applications Specialist. His main responsibility is supporting Crodaโ€™s customers in Asia and Latin America and looking for opportunities to meet their needs using Croda technology

Key Words

Fuel economy, low viscosity engine oil, esters, friction reduction, wear reduction

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