Powered by Blogger.
Wednesday, 19 November 2014

The future of synthetic motor oil.

The future of synthetic motor oil lies in reducing friction.

The future of synthetic motor oil: “ Although tremendous efforts have been made over many years to reduce friction via engine component design, component materials and surface characteristics further improvements will shape the future of synthetic motor oil,” says Victor Wong principal scientist and manager of Sloan Automotive Laboratories and MIT.

“While, despite the fact that lubricant properties play an important role in affecting engine friction they have often been considered outside the mix of
controllable parameters in development projects, until recently.”

The future of synthetic motor oil in actively reducing mechanical losses.

According to Wong “This was evident in the pioneering research program we carried out at MIT, between 2002-7”, he continues. “We looked at low engine friction synthetic engine oil technology, in which lubricants, surface characteristics, and component design were all studied. This work is now being followed up by the current DOE funded lubricant formulation program.”

MIT and Infineum examined areas specifically related to the future of synthetic motor oil formulation, while assessing lubricant-rheology control as a major strategy in friction reduction. The two organisations looked at a number of factors to gain fuel efficiency via the reduction of mechanical losses, including:
  • The benefits of using low viscosity oils 
  • Testing of advanced synthetic engine lubricant and engine lubrication system concepts 
  • Theoretically building a model of the friction of lubricated components in the power cylinder, valvetrain and crankcase 
  • In situ control of lubricant properties 
To date the program has only looked at a few lubricant properties, including the viscosity, lubricant viscosity index and the shear-thinning characteristics which will play a significant role in the future of synthetic motor oil. Moving forward an extended set of design variables including different viscosity modifier polymers and base stocks will be evaluated in relevant test engines.

The results to date have been very encouraging but both MIT and Infineum feel that there is much more to do.

The future of synthetic motor oil development.

Dr Wong believes that fuel efficiency is not the only thing under consideration when looking at the future of synthetic motor oil.

Obviously there must be a balance between fuel economy improvements and wear protection, and recent advances in antiwear technology for low viscosity regimes could mitigate some of the increased boundary lubrication.

Nevertheless, even within the fuel economy arena, there is room for further improvements, such as the significant fuel efficiency gains that can be gained by controlling the lubricant properties to location-specific optimal values at various critical locations in the engine.

However in the future of synthetic motor oil it will be important to control engine lubricant properties locally in the engine, where different temperatures, shear rates, and mechanical loads require different lubricant properties. From an engine-engineering standpoint, this could be achieved via in-engine control of the oil temperature and thus the motor oil viscosity.

The real question that remains is whether this can be achieved more cost effectively through lubricant redesign, without the need for new engine technologies.

The next step in the project for MIT and Infineum is to examine more closely the different roles that other variables, such as other additive formulations and lubricant rheology, can play in optimising both friction and wear.
Although the MIT/ Infineum project to study the future of synthetic motor oil is in the early stages there’s no doubt that high quality fully synthetic motor oil, such as that produced by Habot Oil, is already providing significant benefits to motorists. Call the professionals at Habot oil to see how we can save you money and improve your vehicle’s performance.