Research Area 3 - Sustainable Lubrication

Sustainable Lubrication

The vision of the research area “Lubricants and Interface Mechanisms ” is to measure, understand, and to control lubricant as well as fuel behaviour over time. Alteration – which comprises all physical-chemical changes of bulk properties and additive surface interactions over time at application conditions – plays here an important role. Consequently, the main research activities can be summarised as follows:

  • In-depth understanding of lubricant and fuel alteration in different scales

    • macro-scale, e.g., sludge and deposits
    • micro-scale, e.g., soot and water droplets
    • colloidal and molecular level, e.g., lubricant oxidation and additive depletion

  • Recommending formulations of lubricants, fuels and surfaces also proposing upcoming technologies, e.g., ionic liquids, nano-particles, “green” lubricants and fuels
  • Designing reliable oil condition sensor systems based on multi-parameter sensor arrays

Fundamental research in so-called Strategic Research Projects makes intense use of high-end analytical methods then further implemented in Multi-Firm Projects:

the Orbitrap mass spectrometer (MS) is successfully applied for the elucidation of lubricant deterioration mechanisms where – unexpectedly – a disulfide from antioxidant oxidation could be identified.

A small-spot X-ray photoelectron spectrometer (XPS) is used for the characterisation of the composition of tribochemical reaction layers.

Research with the industry is organised in five multi-firm projects:

  • Engine oils – impact of fuel quality on engine oil performance
  • Industrial lubricants – alteration mechanisms and oil sensors
  • Gear oils and transmission fluids – additive efficiency
  • Innovative lubricants – ionic liquids and nano-particles
  • Fuels – influence of bio-components in future fuels on lubricity

Video oil-alteration


Dr.rer.nat. Marcella Patricia Frauscher, MSc

Organisation: AC2T research GmbH