Photo - Resists Oil

Oil Repellents

Let’s look at the definition of repel and resist, as given by the Oxford English Dictionary:

  • Repel (v.): To drive back; ward off. Fight against. Refuse to accept.
  • Resist (v.): To reduce; withstand. Keep from giving in. To remain unaltered.

Oil Resistant vs. Oil Repellent

Oil-Resistant is the lower level of protection. If a sealer is labeled oil-resistant, it means the sealer itself was not formulated to withstand exposure to oil. Oil may penetrate into the pores of the concrete, having no impact on the service-life of the sealer. However, the sealer itself was not designed to prevent the penetration of oil into the surface to which is was applied.

Oil-Repellent actually possesses the properties to repel oil, making the surface oleophobic. If a sealer is labeled oil-repellent, it means the sealer will create high enough surface tension to actually prevent oil from entering into the pores of the concrete. This makes removing oil stains simple and easy. Oil-Resistant means that the sealer itself will not breakdown when exposed to oil. Oil-Repellent means the sealer will push oil away and prevent it from entering into the surface.

Is there such thing as an oil repellent concrete sealer?

The answer is yes. There are two different types of oil repellent concrete sealing products for concrete: concrete coatings and penetrating concrete sealers. Can a penetrating concrete sealer stop oil? The answer is yes. But not all penetrating concrete sealers can stop oil. Penetrating concrete sealers like silicates, siliconates, and silane/siloxanes will not be resistant to oil on their own. In order for a penetrating concrete sealer to resist staining it needs to possess a fluorocarbon.

Fluorinated vs. non-fluorinated (aka contains fluorocarbons).

If the name sounds familiar, it's because fluorocarbon covers a broad family of compounds, and has been used in everything from Teflon, Scotchguard, and Freon. The carbon–fluorine bond is a covalent bond between carbon and fluorine atoms. It is one of the strongest single bonds in organic chemistry behind Si-F (silicone-fluorine). This strong bond also strengthens as more fluorine atoms are added to the same carbon atom in this compound chain. Fluorocarbons are colorless, odorless and have high density (up to twice that of water).

Due to their strong bonds and high density, they are often used to shield off liquids. Petroleum-based liquids like oil, fuel, gasoline and kerosene are far less dense than water and are known to easily penetrate surfaces. Fluorocarbons can prevent stains caused by oil-based liquids. Similar to siloxanes, fluorocarbons bond to one another. They also have a high attraction to the silane compounds found in most penetrating concrete sealers. When applied to concrete, fluorocarbons and silanes react together to create a 3-way matrix that provides the ultimate in water, salt and oil protection. Abrasion tests and long-term studies have shown (by means of QUV weather tests and Gardner Linear Abrader – 2,500 cycles) that fluorocarbons alone and other polymers like acrylics and waxes eventually wear and offer no stain protection beyond 500 cycles. However, because fluorocarbons bond to the silanes below the surface of the concrete, the oil protection only wears if the concrete itself wears away. Fluorocarbons create a nice dense, oil-proof shield. Fluorocarbons bond to concrete via silanes. Without silanes, their protection is short-lived.

By combining penetrating concrete sealer technology with these fluorocarbons manufacturers are able to create oil repellent penetrating concrete sealers. If you are looking for testing data to verify the effectiveness of penetrating concrete sealers with oil protection, the PCI (Paint and Coating Industry) publication evaluated the effectiveness of penetrating concrete sealers formulated with fluorocarbons from 3M. They put the products through vigorous tests and concluded that penetrating concrete sealers with fluorocarbons demonstrate “Significant improvements to stain resistance and oil repellency and good retention of performance through repeated cleaning and weathering. And such they can be considered as a stain protection solution for a wide range of surfaces and environments.”

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