Prof. Dr. Boris Zhmud, Head of R&D
BIZOL W-Guard: Additives that work
Modern motor oils are advanced hi-tech products developed to meet ever-increasing performance and safety requirements. Typical motor oil may contain up to 20 % of various additives that are used to fine-tune specific properties. Additives help fight oxidation, disperse dirt and water, improve flow properties and reduce friction and wear. The majority of motor oils on the market are multivehicle products, which means they are designed to be compatible with a large number of engines, rather than being specifically tuned for one particular engine. Oil blenders are forced to strike a balance between the two opposing trends: product unification that is beneficial since the same product can be used to cover different segments thus simplifying the product portfolio management, and product differentiation that allows tuning product properties individually for each engine type to meet individual OEM requirements.
Perfect product differentiation to match your needs
In the beginning of the automotive era, motor oils were differentiated only based on their viscosity. In 1947, the first three service categories were introduced by the American Petroleum Institute (API): regular, premium and heavy-duty. Nowadays, there are multiple service categories for the passenger car and heavy-duty motor oil, together with a myriad of individual OEM specifications and approvals. This implies that oil developers must compromise some properties creating products good enough for a broad range of engines instead of creating products finely tuned to meet individual driving style and engine requirements. This is why, if you decide to take your performance car to the track, you may be advised to change from the on-road oil to a special racing oil. One oil cannot be good for everything!
You may start to wonder what is different in the racing oil versus its on-road analogue if they both are used in the same engine. One common difference is the viscosity grade – racing oils are often (though not always) “heavier” grades to coupe with higher engine temperatures. For instance, Corvette owners would normally pick 5W-30 for street and 15W-50 for track (though 0W-40 is possible for both for the new Corvette C7). The second – more important – difference is actually the amount of additives. Racing oils are not restricted by regulatory approvals, and hence can deploy additives at higher treat levels: up to 2 times more ZDDP, and up to 10 times more moly is not uncommon. Racing oil can also use some exotic additives that would not be permitted in on-road vehicles due a problematic environmental safety profile. Curiosity sake, you may wish to compare safety data sheets of conventional and track racing oils – the latter may show some hazard labels such as
You don’t usually see these on conventional “street” motor oils, do you?
The truth of aftermarket additive packages
Therefore, it is not unusual to see various aftermarket additive packages on the market. The commonest are various “oil revitalizers”: these products help you boost oil ZDDP and alkaline buffer levels to extend oil service life. Oil revitalizers may prove to be useful in certain regional markets where fuel quality is poor, however their use is normally limited to older vehicles. In new vehicles, the use of such products is not recommended since they may affect vehicle’s emission control systems. Another common class of aftermarket additives includes various “performance boosters”. One should be very careful with such products. Quite too often, novelty sells over utility and totally unrealistic performance gains are claimed for advertising appeal. A quick Internet search for “oil treatment” will give a handful of products claiming 10-20 % gains in engine efficiency. This is fake! No additive can ever do that. Even if you would be able to eliminate all friction losses in an engine, you won’t gain more than 10 % improvement. Since most of the losses come from oil viscosity, the effect of additives on efficiency is rather limited, hardly ever exceeding 1-2 %.
Why would you use such additives then? The answer is, for engine endurance and durability. Certain classes of antiwear additives and friction modifiers are very efficient in reducing engine wear, especially in performance engines and under harsh use conditions (think of endurance racing). The oldest and best known product is MoS2, molybdenum disulfide. Newer products include MoDTC, borate esters, and various nano-additives such IF-MoS2, PTFE, graphene, nanodiamonds, nano-boric acid, etc. The chief disadvantage of conventional MoS2 and MoDTC is that their effect declines rapidly with time, often vanishing after just 3.000-5.000 km because of oxidation. Fullerene systems are more stable but they rely on “exfoliation” to release their effect. Since the exfoliation process requires extreme pressures that are unlikely to be found in an internal combustion engine, in practice, these systems may actually add nothing but cost. Finally, there are also various organic and inorganic antiwear additives and friction modifiers. These additives are used in conventional motor oils from all major brands. However, because of various regulations – and also because of their high price – the treat levels are kept as low as possible.
The advantages of BIZOL Green Oil+
One of our flagship products, BIZOL Green Plus motor oil available in 5W-20, 5W-30 and 5W-40 viscosity grades, uses a unique W-Guard liquid tungsten wear control technology alongside a state-of-the-art COMB LubriBoost friction modification technology. These technologies ensure ultimate lubricant film strength even under most extreme conditions. Unlike usual MoS2 or MoDTC-based oil treatment systems, W-guard technology has a long-lasting effect: not only is it unaffected by the oil oxidation but it does also protect oil against the oxidation. Importantly, the W-guard technology does not use any fancy pancy nanoparticles – it relies instead on the in-situ formation of highly efficient WS2 conversion coating immediately in friction points, ie only there where it is needed. This process has been extensively studied by researchers from the Fraunhofer Institute in Germany and is known as Oberflächenkonditionierung.
The W-guard technology significantly boosts the antiwear properties of motor oil. The effect has been confirmed by official oil testing sequences, including reduced cam and lifter wear in the ASTM D6891 test, reduced bore polishing and scuffing in the CEC L-101-08 test, and reduced top ring wear in the ASTM D7484 and D6483 tests.
Other advantages of BIZOL W-guard technology include:
- Improved fuel efficiency due to reduced engine friction, especially in stop-and-go city traffic;
- Immediate lubrication at cold start;
- Reduced oil consumption;
- Quiet engine operation;
- Extended oil service life;
BIZOL has recently launched an oil treatment package Friction Modifier+ o94 that let motor enthusiasts deploy this award-winning technology with any motor oil.