Lubricants have been used by humans for thousands of years in their simple machines such as wheel-axle bearings and sledges. Modern machines are much more complicated and are composed of many different machine elements which are in relative motion under varying loads, speeds and temperatures. Industrial lubricants are significant for all kinds of industries whether machine building, chemical, textile, wood, food-processing, automotive, or wind power. Today’s lubricants have evolved to a complex mixture of chemical structures that ensure not only lower friction but also provide various other functionality such as lower wear, improved heat transfer, sealing, as well as control of soot, impurities, sludge and deposit formation in the mechanical equipment. Lubricant research and development has become indispensable in automotive engines and drive trains as these have been rapidly advancing towards smaller sizes, increased power, better fuel economy and lesser emissions. Development of lubricant additives and lubricant formulation has led to extended service intervals, enhanced fuel efficiency and improved machine durability. Future trends of lubricant development and use in the Industry 4.0 era and rise of electric vehicles look promising where several stakeholders already have taken their first steps.
Part of the book: Tribology in Materials and Manufacturing