Alkyl-Cyclens as Effective Sulfur- and Phosphorus-Free Friction Modifiers for Boundary Lubrication

Michael Desanker, Xingliang He, Jie Lu, Pinzhi Liu, David B. Pickens, Massimiliano Delferro*, Tobin J. Marks, Yip Wah Chung, Q. Jane Wang

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

36 Scopus citations


Modern automotive engines operate at higher power densities than ever before, driving a need for new lubricant additives capable of reducing friction and wear further than ever before while not poisoning the catalytic converter. Reported in this paper is a new class of molecular friction modifier (FM), represented by 1,4,7,10-tetradodecyl-1,4,7,10-tetraazacyclododecane (1a), designed to employ thermally stable, sulfur- and phosphorus-free alkyl-substituted nitrogen heterocycles with multiple nitrogen centers per molecule. The multiple nitrogen centers enable cooperative binding to a surface which provides strong surface adsorption and lubricant film durability in the boundary lubrication (BL) regime. A 1 wt % loading of the cyclen FM 1a in Group III base oil exhibits strong surface adsorption, leading to excellent reductions in friction (70%) and wear (95%) versus the pure Group III oil across a wide temperature range. The lubricant with the new FM additive also outperforms two commercially available noncyclic amine-based FMs and a fully formulated commercial 5W30 motor oil.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)9118-9125
Number of pages8
JournalACS Applied Materials and Interfaces
Issue number10
StatePublished - Mar 15 2017


  • boundary lubrication
  • friction modifier
  • heterocyclic
  • lubrication additive
  • wear

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Materials Science(all)


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