Vibhu Sharma

ORCID Identifier(s)


Graduation Semester and Year




Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy in Materials Science and Engineering


Materials Science and Engineering

First Advisor

Pranesh B Aswath


Increasingly stringent government regulation on emissions (EPA Emissions Standard Reference Guide and latest CAFE standards requiring an average fuel economy of 54.5 mpg (combined cars and trucks) by 2025) impose significant challenges to the automotive and lubricant industries calling for the development and implementation of lower viscosity ILSAC GF-5&6 and API-CJ4&5 oils which further limit the amount of SAPS and deposits in engines. Development of additives that result in lower ash content, volatility and anti-wear property plays a crucial role in being able to reach these standards. The current industrial additive technology i.e. zinc dialkyldithiophosphate (ZDDP) forms harmful deposits on catalytic convertor due to the volatility of Zn, S and P which, impairs its functionality and consequently results in higher emission from vehicles. In this research work, ionic liquids (IL’s) that are non-volatile have been studied as new generation environment friendly antiwear additives along with other ashless anti-wear additives including boron based additives to overcome the current challenges of improving the fuel efficiency and reducing the amount of hazardous emissions. The goal of this thesis work is to study the tribological performance of selected IL’s and develop a comprehensive understating of IL’s chemistry and its consequences to their friction and wear outcomes. As first approach, various P, S and F based ionic liquids are studied for their tribological properties by analyzing the friction and wear results generated using standard tribological experiments. Following this, advanced surface characterization techniques such as X-ray absorption near edge structure (XANES) spectroscopy, SEM, Nano-indentation, SPM techniques are used to investigate the chemical-mechanical properties of the antiwear films. Results indicate that the tribological properties of ionic liquids depend on their solubility in base oil (BO) as well as their chemical interaction with the rubbing surfaces. To address the solubility issue of IL’s in BO, ILs with longer alkyl chain structure were carefully selected which helped enhance the van der waals interaction between strongly polar ILs and non-polar base oil. The interaction of IL’s with the metal surfaces was examined by analyzing the chemical-mechanical properties of the antiwear films formed. Results indicate that ionic liquids do react with the steel surfaces and form a protective antiwear film composed of iron polyphosphates i.e. short to medium chain length which results in improved wear protection. In addition, soluble boron additive (SB) chemistries were blended with ionic liquids to study the synergism between these two ashless antiwear chemistries. Addition of soluble boron additive (SB) to phosphorous based IL (P_DEHP) reduces the incubation time for antiwear film formation by forming boron oxide/boron phosphate film as early as the rubbing starts and subsequently a more durable iron phosphate film is formed providing long lasting wear protection. The synergistic interaction of boron chemistry with phosphorous based ionic liquids provides superior antiwear properties while eliminating volatile elements such as Zn and S from the additive technology.


Ionic liquid, Ashless antiwear additives, Antiwear, Anti-friction, Lubrication, XANES spectroscopy, Tribofilms


Engineering | Materials Science and Engineering


Degree granted by The University of Texas at Arlington