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Problem with Synthetic Oil in a Science Project #4651779
01/31/18 09:00 AM
01/31/18 09:00 AM
Joined: Jan 2018
Posts: 2
Virginia
GradeA Offline OP
GradeA  Offline OP
Joined: Jan 2018
Posts: 2
Virginia
Hey everyone,

Hopefully this question will be unique since I don't actually care at all about the engine performance of the oil, only the chemistry and material properties.

I am doing experiments for a project where I need to record video of water droplets precipitating through an oil layer and then fall into a water layer. The general goal is to characterize the behavior of the velocity. We have made an acrylic tank (like an aquarium) and about half the tank has water and half the tank has oil on top.

Here's the problem we are facing: after a while, the oil/water interface becomes cloudy and milky and begins swirling all over, making visibility worse than it already was. We are using a couple blends to vary viscosity and density, but for now I'll just keep it to Synthetic Castrol 5W-30. It seems from researching BITOG that maybe it's the hydrolysis of the ester in the oil.

Is that what it looks like when hydrolysis occurs in a synthetic blend like that when water is introduced (milky/mayonnaise/peanutbutter)?

Are there any additives that might be culprits, or are there too many unknown additives?

Is there a type of oil we can switch to with similar viscosity and density properties without the 'problem ingredient,' whether it's ester or otherwise?

I look forward to hearing any answers or responses.
Thanks!

Re: Problem with Synthetic Oil in a Science Project [Re: GradeA] #4651796
01/31/18 09:29 AM
01/31/18 09:29 AM
Joined: Jul 2014
Posts: 119
North TEXAS
oldoak2000 Offline
oldoak2000  Offline
Joined: Jul 2014
Posts: 119
North TEXAS
there are lotsa additives in motor oil that will react to water - read up here: ( http://www.machinerylubrication.com/Read/30703/water-synthetic-lubricants )

Maybe use straight/pure Mineral Oil instead (no additives).

Re: Problem with Synthetic Oil in a Science Project [Re: GradeA] #4651808
01/31/18 09:48 AM
01/31/18 09:48 AM
Joined: Feb 2016
Posts: 665
NJ, USA
MotoTribologist Offline
MotoTribologist  Offline
Joined: Feb 2016
Posts: 665
NJ, USA
If you can, find an API SA rated oil (technically not legal in some states). That'll be mineral and have no additives in it. Or you could get mineral oil from the pharmacy; although color might make the visual more difficult in that case.

Re: Problem with Synthetic Oil in a Science Project [Re: GradeA] #4651810
01/31/18 09:49 AM
01/31/18 09:49 AM
Joined: May 2009
Posts: 12,186
N.H, U.S.A.
ARCOgraphite Offline
ARCOgraphite  Offline
Joined: May 2009
Posts: 12,186
N.H, U.S.A.
Maybe try a usp grade mineral oil as old oak mentione,d or, an API SA or other non additised 30 grades.

I got some at autozone to use as ODPE top oil -the bonus in a birn appilicatio is they are minus the modern metallo-organic adds.


2014 Nissan Rogue S CVT, OC#9 41392mi-QSUD10W30 + M110A CHAMP Filter; 2017 Subaru Crosstrek CVT OC#2 ?? mi-SOA/Idemitsu 0w20 + SOA Filter
Re: Problem with Synthetic Oil in a Science Project [Re: GradeA] #4651817
01/31/18 09:55 AM
01/31/18 09:55 AM
Joined: Dec 2017
Posts: 2,310
SE British Columbia, Canada
Snagglefoot Offline
Snagglefoot  Offline
Joined: Dec 2017
Posts: 2,310
SE British Columbia, Canada
Olive oil or Canola would probably give you the result you want, if it doesn't need to be synthetic oil.

SF


If you want the job done right......do it yourself.
Re: Problem with Synthetic Oil in a Science Project [Re: GradeA] #4651825
01/31/18 09:58 AM
01/31/18 09:58 AM
Joined: Jan 2005
Posts: 5,659
Charlotte, NC
Oldmoparguy1 Offline
Oldmoparguy1  Offline
Joined: Jan 2005
Posts: 5,659
Charlotte, NC
I think SA rated oil will work. Most WalMarts carry it, or Dollar General. It will be labeled as to not for use in modern engines or something like that.


A Randomly Selected Thought For The Day:
If Noah had used Zip, he could have used a smaller boat.
Re: Problem with Synthetic Oil in a Science Project [Re: Snagglefoot] #4651826
01/31/18 09:59 AM
01/31/18 09:59 AM
Joined: Feb 2016
Posts: 665
NJ, USA
MotoTribologist Offline
MotoTribologist  Offline
Joined: Feb 2016
Posts: 665
NJ, USA
Originally Posted By: Snagglefoot
Olive oil or Canola would probably give you the result you want, if it doesn't need to be synthetic oil.

SF

Vegetable and seed oils are methyl esters and hydrolyze pretty readily.

Re: Problem with Synthetic Oil in a Science Project [Re: GradeA] #4651927
01/31/18 11:06 AM
01/31/18 11:06 AM
Joined: Oct 2014
Posts: 11,827
Idaho
CT8 Online content
CT8  Online Content
Joined: Oct 2014
Posts: 11,827
Idaho
Water is the ultimate solvent.


"Don't let your preconceived notions get in the way of facts."
Geoff Metcalf
Re: Problem with Synthetic Oil in a Science Project [Re: GradeA] #4652150
01/31/18 03:13 PM
01/31/18 03:13 PM
Joined: Sep 2008
Posts: 1,961
Pennsylvania
Boomer Offline
Boomer  Offline
Joined: Sep 2008
Posts: 1,961
Pennsylvania
Use baby oil and dye it some oil soluble dye.


2013 VW Passat TDI SE, 58,500 miles Castrol Professional VW507 5W-30
2017 VW Golf All Track 17,170 miles Castrol Professional VW505 5W-40
Re: Problem with Synthetic Oil in a Science Project [Re: GradeA] #4652208
01/31/18 04:10 PM
01/31/18 04:10 PM
Joined: Aug 2004
Posts: 721
Lower Alabama
HardbodyLoyalist Offline
HardbodyLoyalist  Offline
Joined: Aug 2004
Posts: 721
Lower Alabama
I would expect a silicone oil to work better. Maybe DOT5 brake fluid.


1998 Ford F150 4.6L -- Mobil 1 HM 10W30
2004 Mercury Grand Marquis 4.6L -- Supertech 5W20 Full Syn
2012 VW CC 2.0T -- Pennzoil Platinum Euro 0W40
2015 Mazda 3 2.5L -- Quaker State UD 0W-20
Re: Problem with Synthetic Oil in a Science Project [Re: GradeA] #4652251
01/31/18 04:43 PM
01/31/18 04:43 PM
Joined: Jul 2006
Posts: 2,135
Virginia
Tom NJ Offline
Tom NJ  Offline
Joined: Jul 2006
Posts: 2,135
Virginia
Ester base oils will not hydrolyze at room temperature, although they may dissolve some water and turn milky if the water content exceeds about 2000 ppm, which may happen at the interface. In any case, it is highly unlikely that the Castrol 5W-30 contains any ester base oils, probably all Group III. I suspect you are seeing an effect from the additives, probably the polar detergents or dispersants dissolving or emulsifying some water at the water surface.

I agree an SAE 30 non-detergent SA motor oil would be best - no detergents, dispersants, or esters. I would avoid vegetable oils are they are somewhat polar and may dissolve some water. Silicone fluids may work but they are water white, expensive, and have a higher density that an SAE 30 SA oil.

Tom NJ/VA

Re: Problem with Synthetic Oil in a Science Project [Re: GradeA] #4652360
01/31/18 06:21 PM
01/31/18 06:21 PM
Joined: Jan 2018
Posts: 2
Virginia
GradeA Offline OP
GradeA  Offline OP
Joined: Jan 2018
Posts: 2
Virginia
Wow! I'm blown away with the timely and thoughtful responses! It sounds like there are plenty of viable options to explore as replacements. Thanks everybody!

Grady

Re: Problem with Synthetic Oil in a Science Project [Re: GradeA] #4658470
02/06/18 09:57 PM
02/06/18 09:57 PM
Joined: Oct 2012
Posts: 4,601
Taiwan
Ducked Online content
Ducked  Online Content
Joined: Oct 2012
Posts: 4,601
Taiwan
I'd try pharmaceutical grade liquid paraffin. If you can't colour that, you can perhaps dye the water phase with ink, food dye or potassium permangenate (that's an oxidising agent but used dilute it shouldn't attack the oil and its an antiseptic which might discourage microbial growth) to give you contrast.

Kerosene would be cheaper but more smelly, and is often sold with dye in it, which might not suit.

As suggested above, silicon brake fluid might also work.

Vegetable oil would probably grow microbes at the interface.

Last edited by Ducked; 02/06/18 10:03 PM.

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