Boundary lubrication occurs when hydrodynamic effects cannot separate lubricated surfaces. The load is instead carried by the surfaces roughness irregularities. Ultra-thin films (a few molecular layers) of lubricant will, however, protect surfaces from major damage.
The understanding of boundary lubrication is far from satisfactory. Focused multidisciplinary investigations and approaches are essential for achieving breakthroughs in this field. One way forward is via atomic level modelling. The figure below shows an example of molecular dynamics simulation of oil with additives confined between two iron oxide surfaces.
For the first time we are using QMD to study, on atomic scale, the processes on ion-oxide surfaces with additives.
The project is financed by Kempe foundation and SKF, and in collaboration with SKF and Machine Elements at LTU.