Heat transfer oils are exceptionally stable and highly refined paraffin-based oils that are designed to be utilised as a quenching oil and a heat transfer medium. They can help heat transfer within mechanical systems by performing the role of an intermediary. They act to cool, carrying thermal energy before transporting and storing it, but assume heating roles too.
In a wide range of industrial applications, heating is often provided indirectly when hot oil circulates through a heat exchanger to reduce areas and components becoming overheated and increasing safety levels during the heating process. In quenching applications, it is essential that heat is rapidly extracted from any parts in contact with oil.
Because of the exceptionally high temperatures involved, the oil must have outstanding thermal stability so that it can resist oxidation, but also provide good heat transfer properties and resistance to coking (carbon deposits) that can clog up equipment.
Properties of heat transfer oils
Today, heat transfer oils produced by leading lubrication makers like Paratherm, Mobil and Shell use a high-quality mineral base oil infused with additives to enhance its abilities. Oils and additives are chosen to provide outstanding performance levels while working under intense pressure in extreme operating environments. To help them cope under such conditions, heat transfer oils are resistant to thickening, but also thermal cracking and oxidation. As a result, these oils can lower oil consumption, leading to longer drain intervals and reduced operational and stock costs.
Heat transfer oils require specific viscosities to perform their job. They must be able to be pumped properly, not only at start-up temperatures, but at optimum operating temperatures as well. The highest quality heat transfer oil can demonstrate peak levels of thermal conductivity, allowing them to cool systems quicker, with rapid heat dissipation when necessary.
Applications for heat transfer oils
Heat transfer oils are required by multiple industries. Their applications include aviation, automotive and marine, but they are also used in common industrial equipment like gears, pistons, final drives, compressors and combustion engines. Shops that perform metal-quenching processes use heat transfer oils, as do companies involved in roofing and asphalt.
High temperature life, good conductivity, low volatility and good pumpability are all the hallmarks of a premium quality heat transfer oil. Specific types of heat transfer oils are designed for different types of systems and temperature ranges. It is critical that equipment users always use the correct solution to achieve optimum performance.