Advancing Gear Oil Insights - tribofilm and subsurface correlation focusing on ashless versus organometallic chemistries

Lead Research Organisation: University of Manchester
Department Name: Materials


High performance industrial gear oils range in application and severity of operation across mining and manufacturing through to energy efficient wind turbines where in service reliability and longevity are key to product performance. Here the gear oil has to provide extremely high levels of surface protection to rolling and sliding contacts over a range of environmental operating conditions. Understanding the surface and sub-surface impact of the additive systems in-use is a key requirement to underpin long term product development of new gear oil systems. Research plays a key role in advancing our understanding of the role that new and existing additive technologies and combinations play in severe loading contact conditions and their impact on the initiation of surface and subsurface metallurgical defects.

This PhD project will be run through the Centre for Doctoral Training in Advanced Materials Systems and presents a 4 year PhD opportunity within the International Centre for Advanced Materials (BP-ICAM) at Manchester University. Working alongside a major, global branded lubricant supplier as an industrially sponsored study the student will be charged with investigating the surface mode of action for a range of additive combinations to critique the impact of metallic and ashless (metal free) additive technologies within a range of product platforms and to understand the surface role of the additives in the formation and resilience of the tribofilm. The deliverable will be the ability to predict the surface behaviour and activity in varying tribological contact conditions and relate this performance to the sub-surface metallurgical condition under different lubricants and test conditions.

This project will be interdisciplinary in nature allowing the candidate to develop their skills within a broad research area. Whilst some chemical knowledge is desirable knowledge of mechanical engineering and a willingness to learn and engage in interdisciplinary research will be essential. This would include; tribology, mechanical engineering and testing, metallurgy, surface science, surface and sub-surface analysis and x-ray imaging.


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Studentship Projects

Project Reference Relationship Related To Start End Student Name
EP/S022635/1 01/10/2019 31/03/2028
2264821 Studentship EP/S022635/1 01/10/2019 30/09/2023 Simon PAul Hawkens