Tribology Letters

, 59:29 | Cite as

An Oil-Based Lubrication System Based on Nanoparticular TiO2 with Superior Friction and Wear Properties

  • Lukas BogunovicEmail author
  • Sebastian Zuenkeler
  • Katja Toensing
  • Dario Anselmetti
Original Paper


We evaluated the performance of five different commercially available nanoparticle classes as additives for an oil-based lubrication system. While the silicon dioxide particles Aerosil® 300, RY300, and R972V tended to increase wear and friction in our 100Cr6 versus cast iron disc–disc contact, Aeroxide® P 25 and especially T 805 TiO2 nanoparticles showed superior anti-wear and anti-friction properties. The underlying tribological mechanism was investigated with optical microscopy, helium ion microscopy, and X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy. Subsequently, we formulated a stable lubrication system based on the best performing T 805 particles. Here, the base oil is a highly purified paraffin oil which was supplemented with 1 wt% T 805 TiO2 particles, 1 wt% Estisol® 242 or 1 wt% oleic acid, 0.15 wt% oleylamine, and 0.15 wt% Pluronic® RPE 2520. Superior lubrication and anti-wear properties of this formulation were demonstrated in 4-h test runs with a normal force of F N  = 2.5 kN and a sliding velocity of 0.15 m/s in our disc–disc contact. Wear was significantly reduced along with a nearly 12-fold reduction in the friction coefficient, compared to the base oil \((\mu_{\text{base}}^{\text{fto}} = 0.155\;\;{\text{vs}} .\;\;\mu_{\text{T805}}^{\text{fto}} \approx 0.01)\). Using 100Cr6 disc–ball contacts, we additionally analyzed the properties of our lubrication system in the border friction regime under higher loads (F N  = 0.5 kN) in 2-h runs. In particular, on the discs with lower engagement ratio, chemo-tribological protective layers were built, which protected the parts very well against wear.


Nanoparticle additives Titanium dioxide Friction Wear Lubrication Dispersion 



We acknowledge Bio-Circle surface technology GmbH, Gütersloh, Germany, for providing the tribometer and many test chemicals, Evonik Industries for providing nanoparticles, the German Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy for funding this work within the ZIM initiative, and Paul Penner for providing XPS measurements.

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Supplementary material

11249_2015_557_MOESM1_ESM.docx (754 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (DOCX 753 kb)


  1. 1.
    Peng, D.X., Kang, Y., Hwang, R.M., Shyr, S.S., Chang, Y.P.: Tribological properties of diamond and SiO2 nanoparticles added in paraffin. Tribol. Int. 42, 911–917 (2009)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. 2.
    Li, X., Cao, Z., Zhang, Z., Dang, H.: Surface-modification in situ of nano-SiO2 and its structure and tribological properties. Appl. Surf. Sci. 252, 7856–7861 (2006)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. 3.
    Hu, Z.S., Dong, J.X., Chen, G.X., He, J.Z.: Preparation and tribological properties of nanoparticle lanthanum borate. Wear 243, 43–47 (2000)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. 4.
    Battez, A.H., González, R., Viesca, J.L., Fernández, J.E., Díaz Fernández, J.M., Machado, A., Chou, R., Riba, J.: CuO, ZrO2 and ZnO nanoparticles as antiwear additive in oil lubricants. Wear 265, 422–428 (2008)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. 5.
    Zhou, J., Wu, Z., Zhang, Z., Liu, W., Xue, Q.: Tribological behavior and lubricating mechanism of Cu nanoparticles in oil. Tribol. Lett. 8, 213–218 (2000)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. 6.
    Padgurskas, J., Rukuiza, R., Prosyčevas, I., Kreivaitis, R.: Tribological properties of lubricant additives of Fe, Cu and Co nanoparticles. Tribol. Int. 60, 224–232 (2013)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. 7.
    Viesca, J.L., Battez, A.H., González, R., Chou, R., Cabello, J.J.: Antiwear properties of carbon-coated copper nanoparticles used as an additive to a polyalphaolefin. Tribol. Int. 44, 829–833 (2011)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. 8.
    Zhang, M., Wang, X., Fu, X., Xia, Y.: Performance and anti-wear mechanism of CaCO3 nanoparticles as a green additive in poly-alpha-olefin. Tribol. Int. 42, 1029–1039 (2009)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. 9.
    Chen, S., Liu, W., Yu, L.: Preparation of DDP-coated PbS nanoparticles and investigation of the antiwear ability of the prepared nanoparticles as additive in liquid paraffin. Wear 218, 153–158 (1998)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. 10.
    Shenoy, B.S., Binu, K.G., Pai, R., Rao, D.S., Pai, R.S.: Effect of nanoparticles additives on the performance of an externally adjustable fluid film bearing. Tribol. Int. 45, 38–42 (2012)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. 11.
    Xue, Q., Liu, W., Zhang, Z.: Friction and wear properties of a surface-modified TiO2 nanoparticle as an additive in liquid paraffin. Wear 213, 29–32 (1997)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. 12.
    Ye, W., Cheng, T., Ye, Q., Guo, X., Zhang, Z., Dang, H.: Preparation and tribological properties of tetrafluorobenzoic acid-modified TiO2 nanoparticles as lubricant additives. Mater. Sci. Eng., A 359, 82–85 (2003)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. 13.
    Rapoport, L., Bilik, Y., Feldman, Y., Homyonfer, M., Cohen, S.R., Tenne, R.: Hollow nanoparticles of WS2 as potential solid-state lubricants. Nature 387, 791–793 (1997)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. 14.
    Rapoport, L., Feldman, Y., Homyonfer, M., Cohen, H., Sloan, J., Hutchison, J.L., Tenne, R.: Inorganic fullerene-like material as additives to lubricants: structure–function relationship. Wear 225–229, 975–982 (1999)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. 15.
    Tenne, R., Homyonfer, M., Feldman, Y.: Nanoparticles of layered compounds with hollow cage structures (inorganic fullerene-like structures). Chem. Mater. 10, 3225–3238 (1998)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. 16.
    Lee, K., Hwang, Y., Cheong, S., Choi, Y., Kwon, L., Lee, J., Kim, S.H.: Understanding the role of nanoparticles in nano-oil lubrication. Tribol. Lett. 35, 127–131 (2009)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. 17.
    So, H., Chen, C.H.: Effects of micro-wedges formed between parallel surfaces on mixed lubrication—part I: experimental evidence. Tribol. Lett. 17, 513–520 (2004)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. 18.
    Mate, C.M.: Tribology on the small scale. A bottom up approach to friction, lubrication, and wear. Mesoscopic physics and nanotechnology, vol. 6. Oxford University Press, Oxford (2008)Google Scholar
  19. 19.
    Grote, K.-H., Antonsson, E.K.: Springer handbook of mechanical engineering. Springer, Berlin (2009)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. 20.
    Hsu, S.M., Klaus, E.E.: Some chemical effects in boundary lubrication part I: base oil-metal interaction. ASLE Trans. 22, 135–145 (1979)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. 21.
    Zhang, L., Chen, L., Wan, H., Chen, J., Zhou, H.: Synthesis and tribological properties of stearic acid-modified anatase (TiO2) nanoparticles. Tribol. Lett. 41, 409–416 (2011)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. 22.
    Gao, Y., Sun, R., Zhang, Z., Xue, Q.: Tribological properties of oleic acid—modified TiO2 nanoparticle in water. Mater. Sci. Eng., A 286, 149–151 (2000)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. 23.
    Battez, A.H., González, R., Felgueroso, D., Fernández, J.E., del Rocío, M., García, M.A., Peñuelas, I.: Wear prevention behaviour of nanoparticle suspension under extreme pressure conditions. Wear 263, 1568–1574 (2007)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. 24.
    Tao, X., Jiazheng, Z., Kang, X.: The ball-bearing effect of diamond nanoparticles as an oil additive. J. Phys. D Appl. Phys. 29, 2932–2937 (1996)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. 25.
    Kato, H., Komai, K.: Tribofilm formation and mild wear by tribo-sintering of nanometer-sized oxide particles on rubbing steel surfaces. Wear 262, 36–41 (2007)CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Lukas Bogunovic
    • 1
    Email author
  • Sebastian Zuenkeler
    • 1
  • Katja Toensing
    • 1
  • Dario Anselmetti
    • 1
  1. 1.Experimental Biophysics and Applied Nanoscience, Faculty of Physics, Bielefeld Institute for Biophysics and Nanoscience (BINAS)Bielefeld UniversityBielefeldGermany

Personalised recommendations