High-Performance Heterocyclic Friction Modifiers for Boundary Lubrication

Michael Desanker, Xingliang He, Jie Lu, Blake A. Johnson, Zhong Liu, Massimiliano Delferro, Ning Ren, Frances E. Lockwood, Aaron Greco, Ali Erdemir, Tobin J. Marks*, Q. Jane Wang, Yip Wah Chung

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations


The demand for increased energy efficiency continuously drives the development of new lubricants. Here we report the design and synthesis of hexahydrotriazine, triazine, and cyclen derivatives as friction modifiers (FMs) for enhanced fuel economy. This series of sulfur- and phosphorus-free oil-soluble heterocyclic ring-based molecules exhibits differing thermal and chemical stability depending on the degree of aromatization and number of linking spacers within the central heterocyclic ring. Thermally stable triazine and cyclen FMs significantly increase friction performance in the boundary lubrication regime. Cyclens in particular reduce friction by up to 70% over a wide temperature range. Detailed experimental investigations of the newly synthesized FMs at elevated temperatures demonstrate their favorable tribological performance under four operating conditions: variable-temperature sliding, linear speed ramping, reciprocating sliding, and rolling–sliding contact. These latest experimental findings suggest the potential of the application of “designer” heterocyclic FMs for reducing frictional loss in motor vehicles.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number50
JournalTribology Letters
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 1 2018


  • Boundary lubrication
  • Friction modifier
  • Heterocyclic
  • Lubricant additive

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Mechanics of Materials
  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Surfaces and Interfaces
  • Surfaces, Coatings and Films


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