Jeff (and why isn't it Geoff),
I spent a couple years in England, office in London, house in Tring, and
still have fond memories of those trips to the 'iron monger' who wouldn't
sell me that "you know that thing that you use for such and such" until I'd
learned the proper name for it. He helped me develop a rudimentry command
of the english language when it comes to what we call out here in the
colonies a hardware store. During my stay a wise old Brit once said to me,
"Giving the English language to the Americans is a bit like giving sex to
little children in that they somehow realize that its terribly important but
don't know quite what to do with it." I could only reply that if they'd
have managed their colonies properly in the first place, they wouldn't have
Anyway, good to find your site.
All "oils," vegetable or mineral are mixtures of various molecular weight
ingredients. Take the mineral spirits and thin to get that perfect
compromise between abrasion and float.
Paraffin (wax) is just oil made of the heavier fractions.
My knowledge of organic chemistry is pretty sparce but from
what I remember:
There are different structures found in oils. In petroleum oils
a common base 'structure is a six carbon ring There are
aromatic, aliphatic and parraffinic molecules. In one of the
first two, I think it is aromatic, a typical ring is joined to more
than two others forming a chickenwire like structure. In a
Paraffinic molecule the rings are joined end-to-end by a single
bond from one carbon in one ring to a another carbon in the
next forming straight chains.
Thus two oil molecules with the same molecular weight can have
very different properties. Petroleum distilates may be characterized
by the proportion of one of these structures to the others thus
haing a high or low aromaticity or parafinicity.
Generaly speaking, paraffinic molecules make good lubricants.
Pennsylvania grade crude has a high paraffinicity, hence its
reputation for lubricating oils (e.g. Quaker State).
Kerosene, as I recall, has a high parafinicity. I don't know if
paraffin wax has a high paraffinicity. It would be ironic if it
is like chickewire while a parrafinic structure is like a chain of
On 9 Mar 2006 06:02:01 -0800, email@example.com wrote:
I visited an oil refinery in Bradford, PA, when I was about 7 years
old on a field trip with my parents when they were in college. I
remember the guide saying that Pennsylvania oil was paraffin based and
Texas oil was asphalt based. I've remembered that all these years, and
made my motor oil buying decisions based on it.
I'm glad to read your notes which confirm my memory (I've never
bothered to look it up because my knowledge of organic chemistry is
sparser than yours by an order of magnitude, so I doubt I'd understand
the answer). So call me stupid.
In addition to Quaker State, there's Pennzoil and Wolf's Head (if
they're still around), and I believe Castrol is a paraffin oil, as
well. Valvoline might be, too.
Not bad. Aliphatic chains are mostly what we're talking about. The
aromatics feature the benzene ring, and the lighter ones are difficult if
not impossible to remove from various types of crude.
Differential distillation and cracking are used to produce the most valuable
fraction - gasoline. Crude oils contain more or less of the lighter
fractions and certain other elements such as sulfur in the much-maligned
sour "high sulfur oils." The oil industry benchmark "Brent crude", contains
a greater percentage of small stuff than heavy crude, based on average
http://www.epa.gov/oilspill/oiltypes.htm Though it's interesting to note
the Pennsylvania propaganda, Texas crude is hardly asphalt, being lighter
than North Sea Brent overall. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brent_crude
Your solvents tend to be light molecular weight, which is why they reduce
the viscosity of the oil they mix with. Paraffin wax, as indicated, is
primarily composed of 26-carbon chains, versus gasoline, which as we know
favors 8 (octane), therefore it, and other waxes are of lower volatility -
solid at room temperature - and may still contain other lower molecular
weight oils. Isomers, including cycloparaffin exist, and are tolerated in
You think we might refer to paraffin as "big oil?"
Briefly. Since DOT 3 is glycol based, it's hygroscopic and you might end up
using a water(ed) stone after all.
The DOT 5 stuff is silicone-based. More stable, but don't spill it on
something you're going to paint.
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