Staff Services Student Enterprise

DAINTech – lubricant

A new approach to liquid crystal-based lubricant systems with tunable properties

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.


  • Lubricant products/systems

Development Status

  • Laboratory measurements

IP Status

  • Priority Patent Application filed

Commercial Offering

  • Commercial licensing and/or co-development


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.

The 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.


  • Tuneable rheology allows optimal design for desired conditions
  • Adaptable to the surface conditions under which the system is confined
  • Aqueous and non-aqueous compatible
  • Reduced dependence on petroleum-based materials and harmful surfactants


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.

Quote: TEC1104137

License this technology

Dr Angus Stewart-Liddon

Senior Technology Transfer Manager
School of Engineering