Oil-Soluble Silver-Organic Molecule for in Situ Deposition of Lubricious Metallic Silver at High Temperatures

Michael Desanker, Blake Johnson, Afif M. Seyam, Yip Wah Chung*, Hassan S. Bazzi, Massimiliano Delferro, Tobin J. Marks, Q. Jane Wang

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Scopus citations


A major challenge in lubrication technology is to enhance lubricant performance at extreme temperatures that exceed conventional engine oil thermal degradation limits. Soft noble metals such as silver have low reactivity and shear strength, which make them ideal solid lubricants for wear protection and friction reduction between contacting surfaces at high temperatures. However, achieving adequate dispersion in engine lubricants and metallic silver deposition over predetermined temperatures ranges presents a significant chemical challenge. Here we report the synthesis, characterization, and tribological implementation of the trimeric silver pyrazolate complex, [Ag(3,5-dimethyl-4-n-hexyl-pyrazolate)]3 (1). This complex is oil-soluble and undergoes clean thermolysis at ∼310 °C to deposit lubricious, protective metallic silver particles on metal/metal oxide surfaces. Temperature-controlled tribometer tests show that greater than 1 wt % loading of 1 reduces wear by 60% in PAO4, a poly-α-olefin lubricant base fluid, and by 70% in a commercial fully formulated 15W40 motor oil (FF oil). This silver-organic complex also imparts sufficient friction reduction so that the tribological transition from oil as the primary lubricant through its thermal degradation, to 1 as the primary lubricant, is experimentally undetectable.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)13637-13645
Number of pages9
JournalACS Applied Materials and Interfaces
Issue number21
StatePublished - Jun 1 2016


  • friction reduction
  • lubrication
  • lubrication additive
  • oil degradation
  • silver complex

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Materials Science(all)


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