Argonne National Laboratory


A lubricant’s effectiveness in reducing friction and protecting component surfaces depends largely on the functional additives in its oil. Current state-of-the-art additives function through chemical reactions, mainly with ferrous (iron-containing) surfaces. With more use of non-ferrous materials and increasing use of coatings—coupled with regulatory requirements reduced use of some current additives, there is a pressing need for new and more effective additives for vehicle systems and component lubricants.

Argonne researchers are using nano-particulate technology to develop new functional additives that reduce friction and wear and prevent scuffing. These new nano-additives incorporate time-release attributes that are similar to those used in pharmaceutical drug formulation and design. The Argonne team has designed and synthesized:

  • Friction-reducing additives MoS2, h-BN, CaCO3, Cu, Ag;
  • Wear-reducing additives TiO2, SiO2, Ag, Cu;
  • Chemical stabilizers CaCO3, Mg(OH)2; and
  • Thermal dissipators Cu, Ag and C.