“Decades of Declining Viscosity”

Like a limbo dancer, engine oil viscosities have been getting lower and lower over the past few years. To emphasise this, the SAE’s J300 viscosity standard established two new low viscosity grades definitions, SAE 8 and SAE 12.
The process of formulating “thinner” higher-performance oils has been progressing for more than a century and things have come a long way since the first engine oils were used in the early internal combustion engine cars of the late 19th Century.

Over the last 60 years, there have been enormous changes since Alexander Duckham launched the first multigrade engine oil, Duckhams Q 20W-50, to the point where 0W-XX oils could take 35 percent of the global market by 2030.

The question now is, what base oils will be needed to blend these viscosities and will there be the resources and willingness to meet these new specifications with the emphasis being shifted to electric vehicles.

Extract from Mike Peter’s Base Oil Column in May’s edition of Lubes’n’Greases Magazine