PAO Vs VHVI Hydraulic Oil, What's The Difference, And Which One Works Best?

Posted by TEAM101 on 21st Dec 2021

PAO Vs VHVI Hydraulic Oil, What's The Difference, And Which One Works Best?

PAO Vs VHVI Hydraulic Oil, What's The Difference?

Here at TYGRIS, we’re all about providing innovations. Our expansive food-safe PROTEAN range features a selection of Hydraulic Oils, fully certified for use within the food manufacturing industry. We offer PAO and VHVI within this range, providing our industry with the highest quality of enhanced performance, and extending service intervals.

A pretty common question we get asked is: What oil do I go for? PAO or VHVI? In this blog, we’re breaking down the main differences between the two, so after reading you should have a clear understanding of which oil best suits your application!

What Is PAO Hydraulic Oil?

PAO stands for Poly Alpha Olefins, a type of base oil and is probably the most common of all synthetic base oils within our industry - used extensively in automotive fluids, hydraulic, gear and bearing oils.

There are a lot of benefits to PAO oil, and some of the main features are:

  • High viscosity so it can function like a multi-grade oil
  • Non-toxic
  • High thermal-oxidative stability, performs better at high temperatures, resists severe conditions
  • Good flow at low temperatures
  • Less volatile and higher flash points over mineral oils

PAO oils aren’t exactly perfect - their biodegradability is limited and wear properties are not as good as lubricants produced from more polar base stocks (for instance mineral oils and esters) However, PAOs have different characteristics to other chemical types so will be the better choice for different environments. They are most suited in conditions where the below attributes are desired:

  • Improved lubrication and reduced wear
  • Less downtime
  • Fully mineral oil soluble
  • Minimal change-out time & cost
  • No environmental issues
  • Wide temperature range and oxidation stability

What Is VHVI Hydraulic Oil?

The viscosity index - a measure of a fluid’s change in viscosity concerning temperature fluctuations. So a fluid with a high VI, the more stable the viscosity remains over temperature changes.

VHVI stands for Very High Viscosity Index meaning our oils have a classification of above 110.

Our Hydraulic VHVI oils are food-grade, non-toxic and developed for usage in the food, drink and pharmaceutical processing and packaging equipment, as well as other hydraulic systems where a clean, non-staining hydraulic oil is desired.

Main features:

  • Low coefficient of friction, reduces wear as well as provides excellent lubrication
  • Extended maintenance intervals as low foaming reduces residue build-up
  • Wide temperature stability

So, What Is The Difference Between PAO & VHVI?

Put very simply, VHVI is a mineral base oil featuring many additives to assist in the adaptation of changing environments.

PAO is a pure 100% synthetic superior oil with high viscosity and advanced oxidative stability.

Which Oil Is Better For You?

PAO is more expensive as it's a pure synthetic oil with fewer additives. However, it has drastically better performance and can handle more extreme temperature changes.

VHVI also has brilliant capabilities within extreme environments and is known for being the "cheaper" option - VHVI oils are developed based on PAO performance and do the job very well.

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