DAINTech offers an approach to adaptable gel phase materials that are highly shear-thinning with potential application as liquid lubricants.
DAINTech technology can provide both aqueous and non-aqueous systems and accommodate a wide range of thermal stability and low cost of ingredients, providing a platform for new lubricant materials based on liquid crystal technology.
Effective lubricant products are important for controlling friction
between contacting surfaces, regulating temperature and pressure, as
well as eliminating debris and preventing corrosion. Traditionally we
have relied heavily on petroleum-based systems to achieve required
technical performance. Going forward there is an opportunity to
transition to environmentally sound base materials based on
technological advances in the field of liquid crystal based lubricants.
University of Edinburgh researchers have developed an innovative approach to achieve attractive rheological properties for a range of liquid crystal based lubricant systems, which offer tunability for optimal performance in applications of interest. This includes ‘green’ aqueous and non-aqueous systems with a range of thermal stability and low-cost ingredients.
The Edinburgh approach is based on our proprietary DAINTech
technology, which takes advantage of rheological properties conferred by
defect lines deliberately induced within a liquid crystal phase. This
results in a tunable gel phase with a storage modulus of G’ from 0.01Pa
to 1000Pa, as demonstrated in tests exerting an oscillatory strain
across samples with 20-200 micron thickness ranges. At sufficient shear,
and with appropriate system design, the liquid crystalline phase flows
and the viscosity falls rapidly from around 20Pa.s to 0.02Pa.s.
defect lines which give rise to the physical properties of the system
can be readily produced by the surface structures for close contacting
components (< 200-micron range). Rheological properties remain
largely unaffected if particulates (e.g. dirt) become dispersed at
volume fractions less than 10%. The DAINTech technology is capable of
generating systems that can be water- or oil-based in nature using
cost-effective and ecologically attractive base materials. Through
appropriate design, many ingredients or compositions forming liquid
crystalline phases may be adapted to exhibit target properties.
Katyan et al (2021). The yielding of defect-entangled dispersions in a nematic solvent, Journal of Rheology 65, 1297 (2021); DOI: 10.1122/8.0000243
Please note, the header image is purely illustrative: Borzaya via Getty Images.