(LubEnergy) Engineering Lubricious Interfaces for Enhancing Energy Efficiency

At a glance

Title Engineering Lubricious Interfaces for Enhancing Energy Efficiency
Reference UTAP-EXPL/NPN/0046/2021
Scientific Area Nano Materials for New Markets
Funding (PT) 49 998,94 EUR
Funding (US) 50 000 USD
Leading Institutions Instituto Pedro Nunes, PT

Walker Department of Mechanical Engineering, Cockrell School of Engineering, UT Austin, USA

Duration 12 months
Start date January 1, 2022
End date December 31, 2022
Keywords Tribology, DLC, Ionic liquids, Green lubricants

What is LubEnergy about?

The prosperity and economic growth of developed countries require securing the sustainability of our energy use. A cornerstone in achieving this is the improvement of energy efficiency through, for example, the reduction of friction losses and increase of the lifetime of moving components. Several materials were developed so far, but the evaluation of the interactions between sliding surfaces and the liquid lubricant remains challenging.

LubEnergy will combine the efforts of multidisciplinary groups with complementary expertise to evaluate the friction and wear response of a class of advanced coatings, namely europium- and gadolinium-alloyed diamond-like carbon (DLC)(Eu-DLC and Gd-DLC), lubricated with a class of green lubricants, namely phosphorus-based ionic liquids (ILs) and develop an understanding of the interactions between the two.

The outcomes of the project will provide guidance for designing the combination of novel nanostructured alloyed-DLCs and ILs needed to achieve the required lubricating performance.

What critical challenges is LubEnergy addressing?

Despite the plethora of approaches developed so far for reducing friction and wear of moving mechanical components, the combined use of DLCs and ILs for tribological applications is still unexplored. To take full advantage of the properties of both DLCs and ILs, a detailed understanding of the interactions between DLCs and ILs is required.

How does LubEnergy intend to provide a comprehensive understanding of the interactions between DLCs and ILs?

Our approach is unique in two general ways. First, we will perform an integrated study that couples material design (growth of DLCs and synthesis of ILs), material properties (surface chemistry, hardness), and functional behavior (tribological performance). As these aspects are all intrinsically intertwined, a coordinated study that brings together the required capabilities will be employed. Second, in this project, we seek a fundamental understanding of the functional behavior to reveal the importance of specific material properties, and subsequently use the emerging knowledge to dictate the needed structure and composition of DLCs and ILs.

How is LubEnergy likely to impact industries and society at large?

The research findings will have a direct, positive societal impact. The coming into being of the knowledge necessary to rationally design sliding interfaces that combine alloyed DLCs and ILs will pave the way towards the development of novel energy-efficient, environmentally-compatible solutions for a variety of sectors, including manufacturing and automotive ones.

Such an outcome can enhance sustainable development through the reduction of the economic (e.g., reduced fuel expenditure) and environmental (e.g., less pollution) impact of tribology, while being a key factor in the attempt of achieving the challenging environmental objective of reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

Expected Key Outcomes

  • At least 2 journal articles;
  • Preparation of 2 Master’s theses at Instituto Pedro Nunes (IPN);
  • Presentation of research results in at least 2 international conferences;
  • Writing of a press release for each publication and an explanation summary for the general public;
  • Preparation of technical communications based on peer-reviewed journal articles;
  • Release of monthly updates on the IPN website to generate public awareness of the project outcomes.

Project Team

Fábio Ferreira

Principal Investigator in Portugal (CEMMPRE, University of Coimbra)

Filippo Mangolini

Principal Investigator at UT Austin (Walker Department of Mechanical Engineering, Cockrell School of Engineering)

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