MoS₂ nanoparticles as additives in lubricants and low-friction materials

Project duration

2009 - 2012

Project Category


Contact Information

prof. dr. Mitjan Kalin


  • Jožef Stefan Institute (Slovenia)
  • Universite Blaise Pascal (France)
  • Weizmann Institute of Science (Israel)

Innovative physical principle of lubrication with the use of MoS₂ nanoparticles as additives to oil. With the use of these nanoparticles we could prevent the increase in friction and wear once the current most effective additives will be abandoned due to increasingly severe environmental regulations. Due to the physical principle of lubrication the research will be applicable to a wide range of materials (steel, DLC...) while reducing the environmental burden (emissions).

Due to increasingly severe environmental regulations the most effective lubricant additives (based on S, Pb, Zn) will have to be abandoned. Without a suitable solution this could lead to drastic increase in friction and wear in some technical systems. One of the possible alternatives is the addition of nanoparticles to lubricants, which is also the topic of research in this project. In our research we are conducting a systematic analysis with the aim of clarification of the fundamental tribological mechanisms of boundary lubrication with MoS₂ nanotubes and determination of the influential parameters. We are collaborating with the Jožef Stefan Institute, where the nanoparticles are being synthesized and characterized and where physical and chemical properties of these novel hybrid MoS₂ nanoparticles (“mama”-tubes) are being determined. Based on these results we expect to obtain the necessary understanding of the boundary lubrication mechanisms and properties of selected nanoparticles, with which we will be able to formulate the lubricant with nanoparticle-based additives that will have the best tribological properties for different applications and will be independent of tribo-chemical interactions with surfaces (applicable for steel and DLC coated surfaces) and at the same time will not increase negative environmental impact (emissions). For comparison of performance and distinction of lubricating mechanisms under dry and oil-lubricated conditions, we will also perform a tribological investigation under non-lubricated conditions, by incorporating nano-particles into a polymer matrix, to form a “self-lubricating” polymer composite, which have already showed promising tribological results.
Concept of physically-based lubrication with nanoparticles is innovative and novel for oil lubrication, in particular in lubricating chemically inert surfaces. This will enable a step-change in boundary lubrication of inert surface coatings, such as DLC, and prevention of friction and wear increase (energy loss, increased maintenance) due to abandoning of the successful, but for the environment and catalysts systems polluting and dangerous additives, based on S, P, and Zn