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Nanoparticles improve lubricant performance in friction and wear prevention

By Scott Jenkins |

Nanoscale materials have been added to engine lubricants to enhance performance for some time, but the use of such materials has been limited by their inability to remain suspended in the oils, and by their tendency to darken the color of the lubricant. Now, LSI Chemical (Mt. Gilead, Ohio; www.lsichemical.com) has developed a nanoparticle engine-lubricant additive that alleviates these issues, while providing improved anti-wear performance along with less friction. LSI Chemical, which was spun off in August as a separate company from Lubrication Specialties Inc., has developed the NanoClear series of lubricant additive products for vehicle engines and industrial applications. Its lubricant additives are carbon nanoparticles that have a size range (3–8 nm) and polarity that allows them to act as “tiny ball bearings, filling in asperities of machined metal surfaces to decrease friction,” explains Todd Cawley, CEO of LSI Chemical (diagram). Simultaneously, the nanoparticles decrease engine wear. “These carbon nanoparticles form links with the molecules of the lubricant to make it behave like higher-viscosity oil,” Cawley says, which improves wear performance. For example, the company found a 20% reduction in wear when the…
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