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Types of Mineral Oil

by Helen Harvey

Mineral oil, also known as liquid petroleum, is a byproduct of the gasoline production process. It is transparent and mainly composed of hydrocarbon alkanes. It is safe for human consumption and has been approved by the Food and Drug Administration for personal care, cosmetic items and a food additive; even gentle baby oil products are made from mineral oil. There are three basic types of mineral oil: paraffinic, naphthenic and aromatic.

Paraffinic Oils

According to Engineers Edge website, it is the molecular structure of long chains of hydrocarbons that distinguish paraffinic oils from other mineral oils. Paraffinic oils contain paraffin wax and are the most commonly used base for lubricating oil products. Qualities of paraffinic oils include a higher resistance to oxidation, a higher viscosity index and pour point and low volatility. They are used in the cosmetics industry, for processing oils in the rubber, textile, and paper industries, as industrial lubricants and for manufacturing engine oils.

Naphthenic Oils

The molecular structure of rings of hydrocarbons distinguish naphthenic oils from other mineral oils. Naphthenic oils do not contain paraffin wax. The qualities of naphthenic oils include good stability, low viscosity, a low pour point and high volatility. They are generally used for applications with narrow temperature ranges where a low pour point is required, such as manufacturing metal working fluids and transformer oils.

Aromatic Oils

Aromatic oils are vital to the tire manufacturing industry. They have a condensed ring molecular compound and, contrary to the name, do not have a pleasant smell. They have low volatility and are used to facilitate the processing of the rubber compounds. They are also key to the technical performance of tires, particularly road adherence.

About the Author

Helen Harvey began her writing career in 1990 and has worked in journalism, writing, copy-editing and as a consultant. She has worked for world-class news sources including Reuters and the "Daily Express." She holds a Master of Arts in mass media communications from Cambridge University in the United Kingdom.

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