'Rajasthani clay based solid lubricant developed'

Jodhpur, Mar 3 (PTI) Researchers at IIT Jodhpur claim to have developed Rajasthani clay based solid lubricant which they say can reduce the wear down of industrial machines.

The researchers, including Rakesh Kumar Sharma from the Department of Chemistry at IIT Jodhpur, said the clay based lubricant works well in the temperature range of -50 to 1,100 degree Celsius with very low friction.

According to the scientists, the most successful solid lubricant which is currently used decomposes quickly, experiences sulphur toxicity at temperatures above 400 degree Celsius, and has a high material cost.

'So we felt the need to develop a high performing friction-reducing solid lubricant for various mechanical and tribological applications like in aviation, space, steel, cement, and automobiles industries at variable temperatures,” said Sharma, head of the research team.

Sharma said that usually, the frictional forces between the clay layers are very low, and this property is believed to be a cause of clay ooze while holding it in hand, and during landslides and natural avalanches.

'We began study at atomic level, and measured frictional force at different sliding positions followed by investigation of the particles due to worn surface,' Sharma said.

'It was observed that in presence of nickel oxide nano-spheres, the effect is nullified due to appropriate orientation and favourable electrostatic forces,” he added.

The lubricant is made of layered Rajasthani clay with spherical ultrasmall metal particles -- smaller than the width of a single human hair -- between the layers, and has low friction, the scientists claimed. PTI CORR VIS VIS