Lubricants

A core area of interest for tribologists, lubricant research is a key area of innovation that PCS has been supporting for over 30 years across a plethora of industries.

Where there is movement in a system you will almost always find a lubricant of some kind. From snowboards to CNC machines, and from your knee joint to the CV joint of a car, all require lubricants to operate reliably and efficiently. That lubricants are so widely used in so many different applications means that there is no single way to make a lubricant, as they often have to perform many different tasks. For some they must cool as well as reduce friction, for some they must stop foaming or corrosion, whilst others might need to survive extreme pressures or temperatures. With all these competing needs, lubricant design is highly application specific, so researchers utilise lab equipment such as the MTM, ETM, EHD and MPR to help develop lubricants and test them at representative conditions.

Going forward, tribology will be as important as ever in the design and development of lubricants. This innovative work is integral to improving efficiency and reliability in systems and making sure they can last the test of time. Tribologists play a key role in making systems more sustainable and environmentally friendly, and in doing so are helping to protect the future of the planet.

Lubricants industry research areas include:

  • Gearbox lubricants
  • Wind turbine lubricants (efficiency and WECs)
  • Biolubricants
  • Metalworking fluids
  • Greases for electric cars

Lubricants Industry includes the following:

Additives

Additives

Developing performance enhancing additives for lubricants. Includes anything from extreme pressure additives to viscosity index improvers.

Biolubricants

Biolubricants

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

Grease

Grease

Greases have to perform in a range of applications such as gearboxes, trains, seals and bearings.

Oils

Oils

Found in every aspect of manufacturing from food conveyors to wind turbine gearboxes, oils have to perform optimally under a vast array of conditions.

Instruments for the Lubricants Industry

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Lubricants Industry Articles & Papers

Paper

Experimental Investigation of Friction in Compliant Contact: The Effect of Configuration, Viscoelasticity and Operating Conditions

This work investigates the effects of kinematic conditions, configuration, viscoelasticity, and lubricant viscosity on friction in lubricated compliant contacts. Experimental data were also …

This work investigates the effects of kinematic conditions, configuration, viscoelasticity, and lubricant viscosity on friction in lubricated compliant contacts. Experimental data were also used to develop a numerical simulation capable of predicting fluid friction in compliant contacts. Mini Traction Machine (MTM) in the ball-on-disc configuration was used to successfully gain insight into the behaviour of compliant contacts, allowing the investigation of the mentioned effects. The findings have confirmed that viscoelastic effects are present in all configurations, being soft-on-hard (S/H), hard-on-soft (H/S) and soft-on-soft (S/S), where they seem to be more profound in the configurations using compliant discs. The experimental data also suggest that the slide-to-roll ratio affects rolling friction in all configurations which is contrary to current literature.

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Paper

Phosphonates from Lipids—Synthesis and Tribological Evaluation

There is a push toward using biobased lubricants due to their lower ecological impact. Unfortunately, despite some favorable properties, lipids …

There is a push toward using biobased lubricants due to their lower ecological impact. Unfortunately, despite some favorable properties, lipids have drawbacks, most notably oxidative stability and cold-flow properties, that hamper their use as high-quality lubricants. To overcome the drawbacks, researchers seek appropriate chemical modifications. In this chapter, we discuss hydrophosphonylation of lipids for obtaining better biobased lubricant – reaction chemistry, analysis, and tribological properties of the product. The synthesized lipid phosphonates, especially from di-n-butyl phosphite, have better oxidative stability, good cold flow properties, low compressibility (high bulk modulus), and low traction. While the viscosity index is worsened (lowered), it is still acceptable. The phosphonates also showed good wear reduction in a four-ball tester, when used as additive. These properties indicate that phosphonates from lipids have potential as biobased lubricants, and especially as hydraulic fluids.

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