Tribology Letters

, 67:105 | Cite as

Effect of Water Incorporation on the Lubrication Characteristics of Synthetic Oils

  • Kelly Jacques
  • Tasha Joy
  • Asghar Shirani
  • Diana BermanEmail author
Original Paper


Deterioration of the lubricant performance of oils due to water incorporation is a major cause of failure during prolonged operation of mechanical assemblies. However, early indication of lubricant failure is challenging. In this work, a quartz crystal microbalance (QCM) technique was used to sense changes in oil characteristics and degradation upon water incorporation. The results obtained during runs at different temperatures indicate stronger signs of oil degradation with larger amount of water mixed in it. The observations on the lubrication performance of water-containing lubricants were confirmed by evaluating the effect of water incorporation on the tribological performance of steel surfaces immersed in synthetic oil. Macroscale tribological analysis indicated an increase in friction and wear of sliding steel components lubricated with water-containing oil after longer durations of tests. The results of this study provide new insights into how early signs of oil degradation can be sensed using the QCM technique toward minimizing the potential negative impact of such changes on the lubrication characteristics of oils.


Oil lubrication Quartz crystal microbalance Water Friction and wear 



This work was performed in part at the University of North Texas’ Materials Research Facility. Support from the Advanced Materials and Manufacturing Processes Institute (AMMPI) at the University of North Texas is acknowledged.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Materials Science and EngineeringUniversity of North TexasDentonUSA

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