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Alkylbenzene

is a synthetic oil derived from alkylated benzene. It is similar in many ways to mineral oil and has some superior properties that make it particularly valuable in ultra-low temperature refrigeration and air-conditioning applications.

Some major compressor manufacturers prefer alkyl  benzene refrigeration oil for some applications with HCFC refrigerant blends such as R-22, R-123 and R-401A.

However, alkylbenzene refrigeration oil with the proper viscosity can be used with most CFC and HCFC refrigerants as well as hydrocarbons and ammonia in most refrigeration and air-conditioning applications.

The benefits of high-quality alkylbenzene lubricants are high miscibility, low foaming, excellent thermal stability, very low floc points and good compatibility:

1. High miscibility: Miscibility is the ability of the refrigerant and lubricant to stay together as one homogeneous solution. Alkylbenzene has excellent miscibility with CFC and HCFC refrigerants, resulting in the oil and refrigerant remaining as one mixture at a wide range of temperatures and pressures.

2. Low foaming: The low foaming quality of alkylbenzene reduces carryover at compressor startup and subsequent oil loss from the crankcase.

3. Excellent thermal stability: Alkylbenzene can enhance the life of refrigeration systems by providing better thermal stability in the presence of CFC and HCFC refrigerants. It resists change under high temperatures, reducing problems with sludge, acids and copper plating.

4. Very low floc points: The floc point is the highest temperature at which wax-like materials precipitate from the oil in the refrigeration system. Because alkylbenzene is a synthetic lubricant, it contains little or no paraffin or wax, which can plug up parts of a system. This can be very desirable in low-temperature applications.

5. Good compatibility: Alkylbenzene can be blended with mineral oil of the same viscosity. It will not affect motor insulation and is compatible with most elastomers and additives often used to improve lubricity.

Preventing contamination problems is extremely critical in the refining and handling of all refrigeration oils. Great care must be used to assure that refrigeration oil is free of moisture and other contaminants. Service technicians must ensure that oil remains clean and dry.