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Screening of ionic liquids as lubricants

The network has investigated whether ionic liquids can be used as industrial lubricants.

Industrial Technologies

Ionic liquids, (semiorganic salts being liquid below 100 °C) have recently replaced traditional solvents for a number of complex industrial applications. These liquids are stable, non-flammable, not or almost not volatile, highly tuneable in chemical structures and basically lubricating which potentially makes them ideal lubricants. The EU-funded 'Mechanisms of interactions in nano-scale of novel ionic lubricants with functional surfaces' (MINILUBES) project investigated the design, synthesis and lubricating properties of a range of ionic liquids. Research focused on the effects of ionic liquid structures and chemical properties on characteristics such as long-term stability, ease of synthesis and miscibility in base oils as well as performance in friction control and wear reduction. The project also investigated whether using ionic liquids as lubricants could avoid fluid-film cavitation, a common problem with conventional lubricants. MINILUBES ranked a number of ionic liquids for their biodegradability and toxicity in order to produce a list of environmentally friendly lubricant choices. The team found that halogen-free ionic liquids can offer excellent lubricant properties, too. The findings of this project have provided a strong platform from which to investigate the application of ionic liquids for specific lubricants.


Ionic liquids, lubricants, industrial applications, functional surface, chemical properties, fluid-film cavitation, wear, friction, halogen-free, polymers

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