Metal Naphthenate

Metal naphhthenates are salts of naphthenic acids. These are coordination complexes and have the formula of M2 or M3O6. The naphthenates are highly soluble in organic media. They have their applications in synthetic detergents, lubricants, corrosion inhibitors, wood preservatives, insecticides, oil drying agents etc. Industrially useful naphthenate includes aluminium, magnesium, calcium, barium, cobalt etc.

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Detailed Description for Metal Naphthenate

Naphthenic acid is the name for unspecific combination of several cyclopentyl and cyclohexyl carbolic acids with the molecular weight of 120 to over 700 mass units. The acids are normally found in immature heavy crudes, whereas paraffin crudes which are used as lubricants have low acid contents. The naphthenates are compex mixtures, showing variations in molecular weight and structures.

Formation of nephthantes:

Napthenic acids react with cations to form the metal naphthenates. When naphthenic acids and divalent cations react, it is reasonable to suppose that the process involves two stage reaction.

M2(+) + RCOO(-) <=> [RCOO - M](+) + RCOO(-)  -> (RCOO)2 - M


The rate of formation of metal naphthenate will thus depend on the stability of the positive monovalent complex.


There are various types of metal naphthenates. Please read below to know more about them!

Copper Naphthenate: It is a copper salt of napthenic acid. Naphthenic acid is a complex natural mixture of fatty acids found in petroleum and is by-product of petroleum refining and has variable composition. 

Calcium Naphthenate: It is a calcium soap of naphthenic acids in crude oil. Napthenate is fromed through reaction of naphthenic acid in crude oil with metal ions such as calcium and sodium. Having density ranging between that of water and oil, naphthenates tend to accumulate at oil-water interface and act as surfactants to stabilize the emulsions.

Sodium Naphthenate: Sodium Naphthenate is white paste to clear, dark brown liquid. The product is mainly used as emulsifier and mild detergent. And can also be used as plant growth agent having good promoting effect for the growth of crop.

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