Green Tribology

Although representing the clearest examples of green industries, wind turbines and electric cars represent only a part of the rapid growth in, and variety of green industries. Using our instruments, tribologists around the world are helping to improve the efficiency and reliability needed to make these industries viable.

In renewable power, efficiency and reliability are key. Take wind power as an example and you find that the profit margins over the life of a turbine are narrow due to high setup costs, and the huge costs associated with maintenance, downtime, and repairs. Reliability is therefore key in ensuring wind power remains a viable power source for the future. Tribology plays a critical role in this as common failure mechanisms in wind turbines such as excess wear, micro and macro pitting, false brinelling and cracking can all be investigated using instruments from PCS.

Efficiency and reliability are just as important in other industries, such as the electric car market. Currently one of the hurdles facing the mass uptake of electric cars is their range and cost. One way to solve both these issues is improving efficiency, something currently being studied by tribologists around the world. Improving drivetrain efficiency would mean electric cars would need fewer batteries to go the same distance – thus cutting costs – or you could keep the same number of batteries but go further for the same cost.

PCS Instruments is giving tribologists the tools to develop new and improved fuels, lubricants, and additives, in turn helping to solve the multitude of problems green industries are facing, and ultimately fight climate change.

Green Tribology industry research areas include:

  • Marine specific lubricants that are safer for sea life
  • Biolubricants and fuels that are sustainable
  • Development of improved wind turbine gearbox oils
  • New grease designs for electric vehicles
  • Optimisation of lubricants for improved efficiency in systems

Green Tribology Industry includes the following:

Biolubricants

Biolubricants

Improving the performance of new, more environmentally friendly lubricants. Developing them to perform as well as, or better than traditional lubricants.

Electric Vehicles

Electric Vehicles

With governments pushing for more electric vehicles, this field of research is growing faster than ever and the new challenges it brings are being met head on, with tribology holding many of the answers.

Renewables

Renewables

One area of tribological research for renewables is their feel. As an often cited reason for why someone doesn't want to switch products, finding ways to develop new renewable products with the same feel is critical.

Wind Turbines

Wind Turbines

Wind power remains one of the most rapidly growing renewable power sources, so the tribological problems found in the gearbox, bearings and generator are the focus of significant research.

Instruments for the Green Tribology Industry

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Green Tribology Industry Articles & Papers

Paper

Development of a Laboratory Test to Predict Lubricity Properties of Diesel Fuels and Its Application to the Development of Highly Refined Diesel Fuels

In the last few years there has been an increasing requirement for the provision of environmentally benign diesel fuels. However, …

In the last few years there has been an increasing requirement for the provision of environmentally benign diesel fuels. However, the introduction of such fuels into service has been associated with high levels of field failure of rotary distribution fuel pumps due to wear. This is because the refining processes necessary to produce ecologically acceptable fuels result in greatly reduced levels of sulphur compounds, aromatics, and polar material, many of which are potential lubricity agents. This paper describes the development of bench test methods to evaluate diesel fuel lubricity and thus enable the identification of appropriate ‘solutions’. It has been found that the key to obtaining good correlation between field experience and bench tests is (1) to reproduce the thermal conditions present in operating pump contacts and (2) to ensure that the same mechanisms of wear operate in the bench test as in the pump environment. The physical and chemical processes involved in the lubrication of fuel pumps and the influence of temperature on these processes are outlined. As a result of the work described in this paper, effective additive solutions have been discovered for controlling the failure of diesel fuel pumps in the field and a provisional ISO (ISO/TC 22 / SC 7 M595: ‘Diesel engines - diesel fuel - performance requirement and test method for assessing fuel lubricity’) and CEC test method for assessing diesel fuel lubricity has also been developed.

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Paper

Film Thickness and Traction Curves of Wind Turbine Gear Oils

The film thickness and the traction curves of four fully formulated wind turbine gear oils were measured on a ball-on-disc …

The film thickness and the traction curves of four fully formulated wind turbine gear oils were measured on a ball-on-disc device. All oils have the same viscosity grade (ISO VG 320) and different formulations: ester, mineral, PAO and mineral+PAMA.

Film thickness and traction coefficient results will be presented. The film thickness measurements were compared with predictions using film thickness equations from the literature.

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