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Using nanoadditives in lubricants is one of the most effective ways to control friction and wear, which is of great significance for energy conservation, emission reduction, and environmental protection. With the scientific and technological development, great advances have been made in nanolubricant additives in the scientific research and industrial applications. This review summarizes the categories of nanolubricant additives and illustrates the tribological properties of these additives. Based on the component elements of nanomaterials, nanolubricant additives can be divided into three types: nanometal-based, nanocarbon-based, and nanocomposite-based additives. The dispersion stabilities of additives in lubricants are also discussed in the review systematically. Various affecting factors and effective dispersion methods have been investigated in detail. Moreover, the review summarizes the lubrication mechanisms of nanolubricant additives including tribofilm formation, micro-bearing effect, self-repair performance, and synergistic effect. In addition, the challenges and prospects of nanolubricant additives are proposed, which guides the design and synthesis of novel additives with significant lubrication and antiwear properties in the future.

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Nanolubricant additives: A review

Show Author's information Jun ZHAO1,2,3Yiyao HUANG1Yongyong HE2( )Yijun SHI3
College of Mechanical and Electrical Engineering, Beijing University of Chemical Technology, Beijing 100029, China
State Key Laboratory of Tribology, Tsinghua University, Beijing 100084, China
Division of Machine Elements, Luleå University of Technology, Luleå 97187, Sweden


Using nanoadditives in lubricants is one of the most effective ways to control friction and wear, which is of great significance for energy conservation, emission reduction, and environmental protection. With the scientific and technological development, great advances have been made in nanolubricant additives in the scientific research and industrial applications. This review summarizes the categories of nanolubricant additives and illustrates the tribological properties of these additives. Based on the component elements of nanomaterials, nanolubricant additives can be divided into three types: nanometal-based, nanocarbon-based, and nanocomposite-based additives. The dispersion stabilities of additives in lubricants are also discussed in the review systematically. Various affecting factors and effective dispersion methods have been investigated in detail. Moreover, the review summarizes the lubrication mechanisms of nanolubricant additives including tribofilm formation, micro-bearing effect, self-repair performance, and synergistic effect. In addition, the challenges and prospects of nanolubricant additives are proposed, which guides the design and synthesis of novel additives with significant lubrication and antiwear properties in the future.

Keywords: nanolubricant additive, dispersion stability, tribological properties, lubrication mechanism


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Publication history
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Publication history

Received: 15 July 2020
Accepted: 03 September 2020
Published: 01 December 2020
Issue date: October 2021


© The author(s) 2020


This work is supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (Grant No. 51905027), the National Key R&D Program of China (2018YFB2000801), the Fundamental Research Funds for the Central Universities (BUCTRC201908), the Tribology Science Fund of State Key Laboratory of Tribology (SKLTKF18A02), and the Swedish Research Council for Environment, Agricultural Sciences and Spatial Planning (Formas Nos. 2016-01098 and 2019-00904), and the Swedish Research Council (No. 2019-04941).

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