Course Content
Overall Assessment
Put your knowledge to the test
0/1
NAL Training
About Lesson
  • Acid: A hydrogen-containing substance that dissociates in water to produce hydrogen ions. It reacts with metals, oxidizes, or bases to form salts.
  • Acid Number: A measure of acidity based on neutralization with alkali of known strength.
  • Additive: A small amount of a chemical substance added to improve the properties of a material (such as a lubricant).
  • AOCA: Automotive Oil Change Association. Formerly NAIL
  • API: American Petroleum Industry
    Aromatic: An unsaturated hydrocarbon characterized by the presence of one or more benzene rings.
  • Ash: The non-combustible residue left after a substance is strongly heated in oxidizing conditions. The quantity of residue may depend on the time and conditions of heating.
  • ASME: American Society of Automotive Engineers
  • ASTM: American Society of Testing & Materials
  • ATF: Automatic Transmission Fluid
  • Atom: The smallest possible particle of a pure element substance
  • Barrel: A traditional petroleum unit of measure, equivalent to 42 U.S. gallons or 159 liters.
  • Base: An alkaline substance, that is, one that ionizes to produce hydroxyl ions, OH-, and that reacts with acids to form salts plus water.
  • Base Number: A measure of the basicity (alkalinity) of a base, which is obtained by reacting it with acid of known strength until neutralized
  • Base Stock: The primary liquid constituent of a lubricant. Also, the various separate components that may make up this liquid. Base stocks may be of petroleum fraction suitably refined, or synthetic.
  • Biodegradable: A material such as an oil or plastic is said to be biodegradable when it can be broken down by naturally occurring bacteria into simple substances that do not harm the environment.
  • Bright Stock: A high-viscosity base oil made from the bottoms of the vacuum distillation column, by de-asphalting and dewaxing.
  • Bulk: The supply of product in large volumes rather than in packages. Common means of supply would be on road or rail tank wagon, barge, or ship. Supply in “container tanks” is usually called “semi-bulk.”
  • CAFE: Corporate Average Fuel Economy
  • Carbon (Deposit):  Solid black residue in piston grooves, which can interfere with piston ring movement, leading to wear and/or loss of power.
  • Carbon Type:  The distinction among paraffinic, naphthenic, and aromatic molecules.  In relation to lubricant base stocks, the predominate type present.
  • Catalytic Converter:  An emissions control device containing catalysts that promote oxidation of hydrocarbons and carbon monoxide and reduction of nitrogen oxides, giving an exhaust containing mainly water, carbon dioxide, and nitrogen.  The catalysts are poisoned by leaded gasoline and possibly by high levels of zinc and/or phosphorus derived from the lubricant.
  • CCS: Cold Crank Simulator
  • Cetane Number:  A measure of the ignition quality of a diesel fuel.  A high cetane number indicates a shorter lag between fuel injection and ignition.
  • CK-4: API HDMO service category (Example: PURAMAX CleanFleet 15W-40 CK-4)
  • Combustion:  Rapid oxidation or burning of a substance.  Combustion of hydrocarbons under ideal conditions produces only water and carbon dioxide. 
  • Combustion Chamber:  The space between the piston and cylinder head in an internal combustion engine, where the charge of fuel plus air is burned to produce power
  • Corrosion:  Chemical attack on a solid.  In an engine, water causes corrosion (rust) on iron parts, and acids from fuel combustion or oil oxidation can cause corrosion of many different metals.
  • Cracking:  A refining process in which large molecules are broken down into smaller molecules.  Cracking takes place to some extent when high-molecular material is heated strongly, but is accelerated by catalysts.
  • Crankcase Oil:  Oil used for general lubrication in an engine where there is an oil sump below the crankshaft, to which circulated oil returns. 
  • Crude Oil:  Naturally occurring petroleum, before any refining or treatment.
  • CVT: Continuously Variable Transmission
  • Cylinder Oil:  A once through lubricant injected into the ring zone of stream or large marine diesel engines, or of air compressors.
  • DCT: Dual-Clutch Transmission 
  • Demulsifier:  An additive that promotes separation of oil and water emulsions.
  • Detergents:  In lubricants, an additive that reduces the formation of piston deposits in engines.  It will normally have acid neutralizing properties and can be capable of keeping finely divided solids in suspension.  Most detergents are based on metallic soaps and are known as over-based if they contain solid alkali in colloidal form. 
  • Dewaxing:  Removal of wax from a base oil to reduce the pour point.
  • Dispersant: An engine oil additive, whose primary function is to hold in suspension solid and liquid contaminants, thereby passivating them and reducing engine deposits at the same time as sludge deposition is reduced. Most detergents have some dispersancy action. The ashless dispersants are polymer-based materials that are particularly useful in holding water in suspension in gasoline engine oils, as well as suspending solid particles. Dispersants of this type have little acid-neutralizing capability.
  • DIY: “Do-It-Yourself”
  • Dry Sump: An engine design in which oil is not retained in a pan beneath the crankshaft, thus permitting splash lubrication. There may be a remote sump from which oil is recirculated, or there may be a total loss system.
  • Emulsifier: An additive that promotes the formation of a stable emulsion.
  • Ester: An organic compound formed by the reaction of an acid with an alcohol or other hydroxy compound. Water is eliminated in the reaction. Several types of ester are useful as synthetic lubricants.
  • EGR: Exhaust Gas Recirculation. Rerouting a portion of exhaust gases to the inlet manifold of an internal combustion engine. The oxygen content of the charge is reduced, and less nitrogen oxides (NOx) are produced.
  • EP: Extreme Pressure
  • Fatty Acid: A long-chain monobasic carboxylic acid CnH2n+1COOH. Fatty acids are obtained by hydrolysis of fats.
  • Feed Stock: The starting material for a refining or chemical process.
  • Flash Point: The lowest temperature at which the vapors from a heated product will ignite when exposed to the air under prescribed conditions.
  • FTC: Federal Trade Commission
  • Fuel Injection: The system of introducing fuel into an engine through a small nozzle under pressure. All pure diesel engines are dependant on fuel injection for their operation, with a separate injector for each cylinder. Gasoline engines can use a single-point injection (to the inlet manifold or carburetor) or multipoint injection (to each cylinder).
  • GF-6A: ILSAC standard (example: PURATECH SYN-Blend SAE 5w-30 GF-6A/SP)
  • Grease: A mixture of a lubricating liquid and a thickener, which has sufficient solidity to stay in place when undisturbed, but flows under the influence of motion to lubricate bearings, gears, etc. The thickeners are commonly metal soaps of fatty acids, but solid thickeners and new chemical thickeners are being increasingly used.
  • Heavy Duty (oil): Originally a crankcase lubricant that contained detergent additives, used mainly in diesel engines but also in some large gasoline engines. More recently, it is used to categorize lubricants containing high levels of detergency for specific application in large diesel engines.
  • Hydrocarbon: A chemical compound consisting of hydrogen and carbon atoms. Petroleum consists mainly of hydrocarbons. The existence of million of different types of hydrocarbon is due to the tetrahedral arrangement of the four carbon valencies, and the ease with which carbon atoms link together to form chains or rings.
  • Hydrocracking: A refining process in which petroleum fractions are cracked at high pressure in a hydrogen stream, whereby a variety of lighter and more useful products are produced.
  • ILSAC: International Lubricant Standardization and Approval Committee
  • Industrial Lubricant: Lubricant used either for lubrication of non-automotive industrial machinery or in manufacturing process.
    Inhibitor: A chemical substance that prevents or slows down an undesirable reaction, such as oxidation of oil or rusting of components.
  • ISO Viscosity: The viscosity system set up by the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) for industrial lubricants. Viscosity bands are numbered in accordance with the viscosity in centistokes at 40 C at the center of each band. The bands are numbered 46/68/100/150/220/320/460/680/1000.
  • JASO: Japan Automobile Standards Organization
  • Jet Engine: A gas turbine for aircraft propulsion, in which the sole function of the turbine is to drive the compressor, and thrust is provided by the reaction to the jet efflux.
  • Light Ends: Low-boiling volatile materials in a petroleum fraction. They are often unwanted and undesirable, but in gasoline, the proportion of light ends deliberately included Is used to assist low-temperature starting.
  • Lithium Grease: The most common type of grease used today, based on lithium soaps.
  • Lubrication: Reduction in friction and wear between rubbing surfaces by introducing a substance (lubricant) between them. This can be a solid, a liquid, or a gas.
  • Methane: The lightest paraffin carbon, a light, odorless, inflammable gas. It is the chief constituent of natural gas.
  • Mineral Oil: Petroleum oil as distinct from animal or vegetable oils.
    Motor Oil: Engine Oil used in motor vehicles.
  • MSDS: Material Safety Data Sheet
  • Multigrade Oil: An engine or gear oil that meets more than one of the relevant SAE viscosity grade classifications-a summer grade with viscosity requirements at high temperatures, and a winter grade with low-temperature viscosity requirements
  • Naphthenic: A type of lubricating oil containing more molecules of a naphthenic type than a paraffinic stocks. Naphthenic oils contain little wax and therefore have low pour points. They also have good solvency power, compared to paraffinic stocks, and tend to produce softer carbon residues if partially oxidized.
  • Noack Volatility: A method of measuring the volatility of lubricating oil, particularly popular in Europe.
  • OEM: Original Equipment Manufacturer (of cars, trucks, etc.)
  • Olefin: A hydrocarbon that contains two carbon atoms linked by a double bond. The double-bond is relatively unstable, and olefins react readily with other compounds or polymerize to higher-molecular-weight, less-unsaturated molecules.
  • Oxidation: The combination of a substance with oxygen.
  • PAO: Polyalphaolefins
  • PCMO: Passenger Car Motor Oil
  • Paraffinic Oil: A lubricating oil containing a high proportion of paraffin molecules in its composition. When cooled, the straight-chain paraffins come out of solution as wax, whose crystals tend to gel in oil. Paraffinic oils have high pour points and are relatively low in solvency compared to naphthenic oils, but have a good viscosity/temperature characteristics.
  • Petroleum: Crude oil and/or its products.
  • PCV: Positive Crankcase Ventilation
  • Polymer: A substance made by polymerizing (linking together) a series of molecules of either one or more chemical types to form a higher-molecular-weight material. When more than one monomer (starting molecule) is involved, the material is usually referred to as copolymer. Unsaturated molecules polymerize readily to form either polymers or copolymers.
  • Pour Point: An empirical test of the gelling tendency of paraffinic oils at low temperatures.
  • PPM: Parts per million (a measure of concentration)
  • Refining: The process or combination of processes by which crude oil is converted into usable products.
  • Re-Refining: The process by which used oil can be processed to produce reclaimed stock with equivalent properties to the original oil. Less complete reclaiming processes will produce stocks for downgraded usage.
  • Rotary Engine: An engine in which a major portion of the mechanism is in rotation, and from which a drive can be taken. The rotating portion can be the cranckcase, the combustion chambers, or, as in the case of the Wankel engine, a rotating member equivalent to a piston.
  • SAE: Society of Automobile Engineers
  • SAE Viscosity: The viscosity classification of a motor oil according to the system developed by the Society of Automobile Engineers and now in general use. “Winter” grades are defined by viscosity measurements at low temperatures and have “W” as a suffix, whereas “summer” grades are defined by viscosity at 100 C and have no suffix. Multigrade engine oils meet both a winter and a summer definition and have designations such as SAE 10W-30.
  • Seal Swell: The increase in volume of a seal component due to the action of the lubricant or other fluid. Practical test foe seal swelling tendency are often performed on test coupons of the same elastomer rather than on complete seals. A small degree of seal swell is often desirable to improve sealing.
  • Sludge: A black or dark brown semi-solid deposit in an engine, which consists of an emulsion containing water, oil, soot, and other products of combustion. The consistency can vary from very soft to a firm gel, and on drying out, it can leave hard carbonaceous deposits. Emulsion sludge is an off white or pale brown mayonnaise of water and oil, which occurs in the PCV or oil filler systems of an engine.
  • SP: PCMO API classification (example: PURATECH SYN-Blend SAE 5w-30 GF-6A/SP)
  • TBN: Total Base Number. A measure of total alkalinity obtained by titrating with acid to a pH of 7.0.
  • Turbine: A device consisting of blades attached to a disc or rotor, which converts a flow of fluid into rotary motion. The fluid can be a gas or a liquid.
  • Vacuum Distillation: Distillation of petroleum under reduced pressure, which enables heavy fractions to be vaporized at lower temperatures, thus reducing the amount of thermal decomposition.
  • VI: Viscosity Index. A measure of the viscosity/temperature behavior of an oil, based on an arbitrary scale of 0 to 100, with 0 being representative of a very naphthenic oil that thins down rapidly when heated, and 100 being representative of a paraffinic oil that thins less rapidly.
  • Viscosity Modifier: A polymeric additive that reduces the amount of thinning of an oil when it is heated. Originally called a viscosity index (VI) improver and later a viscosity improver, the term “viscosity modifier” is now generally preferred for this type of additive. The type of polymer used has undergone changes as the particular low- temp targets for motor oils have been modified and elaborated.
  • VM: Viscosity Modifier
  • Wax: High-molecular-weight hydrocarbons that separate from oil when its temperature is lowered. Paraffin wax separates from light paraffinic oils and is crystalline. Microcrystalline waxes are present in heavy fractions and residua, and are darker with ill-defined crystal structure. Petroleum is obtained from residua by propane precipitation and is of the microcrystalline type with a jelly-like consistency.
  • ZDDP: Zink dialkyl dithiophosphate, a powerful anti-oxidant and anti-wear additive.