Is oil conductive? Since water is conductive because it’s a polar element having two opposite charges that attract each other; this makes people question the conductive abilities of oil, in reality, oil is a poor conductor of electric current but can be a good enhancer. Oil is used to enhance conductance in electrical devices but can’t conduct electric current efficiently by its self. It can conduct both current found in homes and those applications in railroad stations that use low-voltage to run. In large quantities, oil can disrupt the normal functioning of electrical devices, but when used in small quantities, oil can improve conductance to a great extent.
When used in large amounts, the oil serves as insulators, as all the conductive properties have been overshadowed by non-conducting properties. Industries or large factories seeking a fluid medium for insulting certain apparatus while working make use of oil to carry out this function. It’s wrong to apply much oil on electric devices and motors because they will lose their conductive abilities when much oil comes in contact with them. But when used in small, minute quantities, it’s helpful as a conductor, in larger quantities, it loses this power to conduct and start insulating. In the workshop, engineers have revived dead electric motors by applying a few drops of oil on their commutators, proving that oil conducts.
On model railroad tracks, you’ll notice a small quantity of thin clipper oil to increase the conductance of charges. The swing of oils from being conductors to insulators which have raised many questions and debates over time, is due to how much is applied. Ensuring you use the right amount will solve your problem, whether an insulating or a conducting problem, depends on how much oil is applied. The reason why oils become conductors is that oil washes off metal oxides which are poor conductors of current and prevents the forming of further metal oxides. This double effect of oil makes it a huge benefit in factories and industries responsible for electric appliances.
A practical aspect of this is when a thin layer of grade is applied to the lines in a light bulb before its installation, the effect is a long lifespan. Oil also makes metal smooth and prevents corrosion, under a light microscope, you’ll observe some tiny grooves that can’t be felt by the natural hand. In comparison to air, oils beat it in electricity conductance, when there’s no oil, air fills those tiny grooves in metals, providing a poorer flow of electrons.