The rate of oxidation doubles with every 10º C rise in temperature. If not controlled, the lubricant decomposition will lead to oil thickening and the formation of sludge, varnish, resin and corrosive acids. This leads to an increase in rust and corrosion. Water and polar impurities increase the speed of attack, and internal combustion engines contain plenty of these contaminants.
Detergents are additives that adhere to dirt and oil insoluble products formed as oxidation by-products during equipment operation. They keep these in suspension, preventing them from depositing onto critical engine surfaces. Detergents also adhere to the metal surface itself to prevent corrosion from occurring.
Over-based detergents neutralize acidic combustion and oxidation products, helping to control rust, corrosion and resinous build-up in the engine. Some detergents can also act as oxidation inhibitors.
Rust and corrosion inhibitors protect the metal surface against corrosion in a variety of lubricant applications. Some inhibitors neutralize acids; others form protective films. Detergents are excellent rust and corrosion inhibitors because they protect in both ways.
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