What are thermal oils?

Thermal oils are fluids used to transfer heat from one place to another. The oil is heated using any burner or resistance method and passed through a heat transfer system for the use of this energy in places away from the heat source.

How is it obtained?

Oils are products derived from petroleum. The waste left over once the gases and other products have been obtained is distilled once again at a higher temperature and in a vacuum. This generates the mineral bases with which the oils are manufactured. These oils are refined by adding or removing compounds, thereby changing their characteristics of viscosity, freezing point, operating temperature, etc.

Types of oil

Oils may be either mineral or synthetic, depending on their base.
The bases of the minerals are manufactured directly by distilling petroleum with slight alterations.
Synthetic thermal oils are manufactured with bases which are subsequently subjected to physical-chemical transformations.
Semi-synthetic oils also exist, which are a combination of both.

Characteristics

  • Stability. Oils should be stable within the parameters specified by the manufacturer, and should not undergo alterations to their composition due to the heat or the work to which they are to be subjected. Oils which are not stable produce gases and insoluble waste which damage the system.
  • Oxidation. Oils should be resistant to oxidation. This occurs more rapidly with temperature, causing an increase in viscosity and a loss in the effectiveness of heat transfer.
  • Transfer coefficient. Oils should have a high transfer coefficient. The higher the coefficient, the greater the efficiency.
  • Service life. The service life of oils increases in accordance with correct use and a good system design, in addition to good maintenance and monitoring of the characteristics of the oils which degrade with use.

Uses

Oils are used in processes requiring high operating temperatures and low pressures.
They may be used in processes requiring heating and cooling using the same equipment, replacing the compounds of water and glycol in this function.
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