Molecular adsorption, self-assembly, and friction in lubricants

Rui F.g. Apóstolo, Georgia Tsagkaropoulou, Philip J. Camp

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Lubricants are complex fluids consisting of a base oil and many different additives, and are used to control friction and wear between solid inorganic surfaces in relative motion. A review of recent work on molecular simulations of lubricants is given. It is shown that simulations can be used to uncover a lot
of interesting behaviour, including additive adsorption, additive self-assembly,
and a competition between the two. The specific examples to be discussed
are: the adsorption of stearic acid and oleic acid in squalane on iron-oxide surfaces; the self-assembly of glycerol monooleate in bulk n-heptane; the adsorption and friction of glycerol monooleate in squalane on iron-oxide surfaces; and the conformations of functionalised copolymers in bulk n-heptane. The structures adopted by the additives can be correlated with the observed frictional properties, opening up the possibility of molecular-level design of new lubricants. Keywords: adsorption; self-assembly; friction; lubricants; molecular dynamics simulations
Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of molecular liquids
Early online date28 Dec 2018
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 28 Dec 2018


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