MINILUBES - Mechanisms of interactions in nano-scale of novel ionic lubricants with functional surfaces

Project duration

2009 - 2012

Project Category


Contact Information

prof. dr. Mitjan Kalin


  • AC²T Research GmbH (Austria)
  • Fundacion Tekniker - Manufacturing Processes Department - Tribology Unit (Spain)
  • University of Gdansk - Faculty of Chemistry Department of Environmental Analytics (Poland)
  • Cardiff University - School of Engeneering (Great Britain)
  • Laboratoire de Thermodynamique des Solutions et des Polymères (France)
  • Martin-Luther-Universitaet Halle-Wittenberg - Institute of Chemistry, Macromolecular Chemistry, TGZ III (Germany)
  • Institutul De Chimie Macromoleculara “Petru Poni” - Department of Physical Characterization of Polymers and Polymeric Materials (Romania)
  • Universidad De Vigo - Department of Organic Chemistry (Spain)
  • GKN Sintermetals S.p.A (Italy)

Recently, ionic liquids are employed as substitute for traditional solvents in catalysis, synthesis and electrochemistry. But little research work or actual applications have been published until now concerning the utilization of ionic liquids as lubricants. The overall objective of this interdisciplinary and intersectorial approach is the generation of unique and comprehensive knowledge about ionic liquids on a sustainable basis for future implementations as high performance lubricants.

Project Minilubes is the first extensive and integral approach of ionic liquids towards potential future applications as lubricants for metals, ceramics and polymers as well as base for wear and friction reducing nanoparticles. Generally, ionic liquids show no or very low vapour pressures, satisfying viscosity-temperature behaviour, no inflammability and high thermal stabilities up to 250°C. The choice of cation and anion as well as the design of side chains determine fundamental ionic liquids properties. These properties desirable for lubricants and the possibility to create tailor-made compounds give rise to the demand of in-depth investigations of ionic liquids in tribology.

The investigations will involve molecular design and synthesis of new ionic liquids as well as preparation of advanced-materials containing or based on ionic liquids. Evaluation of lubricant and material performance will range from determination of physico-chemical properties including artificial aging of ionic liquids and mechanical testing to tribometrical experiments. Wear and friction properties will be completed by thorough surface characterization, in particular towards tribochemical reaction layers. Parameters gained from these experiments will be used for modelling of triboprocesses on nanoscale and for molecular design of new ionic lubricants.

Link to projects web page: MINILUBES