Bloomberg the Company & Products

Bloomberg Anywhere Login

Bloomberg

Connecting decision makers to a dynamic network of information, people and ideas, Bloomberg quickly and accurately delivers business and financial information, news and insight around the world.

Company

Financial Products

Enterprise Products

Media

Customer Support

  • Americas

    +1 212 318 2000

  • Europe, Middle East, & Africa

    +44 20 7330 7500

  • Asia Pacific

    +65 6212 1000

Communications

Industry Products

Media Services

Follow Us

Businessweek Archives

The Right Lube Job For Superhot Ceramic Engines?


Developments to Watch

THE RIGHT LUBE JOB FOR SUPERHOT CERAMIC ENGINES?

Someday, ceramic engines may replace today's less efficient metal ones. That's because they weigh less--and burn fuel more completely. One problem, though, is finding a lubricant that will withstand the 600C temperatures in a ceramic engine. So far, researchers have relied on phosphoric acid esters. But these fire-resistant lubricants form a highly corrosive acid.

Now, a Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute researcher has come up with a technique that uses a carbon-based gas as a lubricant. Mechanical engineer James L. Lauer sends a pressurized stream of carbon-rich ethylene gas to coat the bearing with a graphite-like slick. Ultimately, he hopes to use unburned hydrocarbons from the car's exhaust as a friction-fighter instead of ethylene.

Still, an ultra-efficient ceramic engine may be some years away. A ceramic engine bearing lubricated with the gas lasted 90% longer than an unprotected part. But while Lauer expects to improve the wear-resistance of his gas, today it effers only 10% of the protection of low-temperature oils.EDITED BY FLEUR TEMPLETON


LIMITED-TIME OFFER SUBSCRIBE NOW
 
blog comments powered by Disqus