Scientists recently published new research that could transform motor oil performance, reduce wear and tear in vehicles and possibly even save car owners money at the pumps by reducing friction in their car engines and transmissions.
The new technology, which was outlined in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences in the United States of America recently, was inspired by the way in which stacks of papers can be prevented from sticking together when they are scrunched up into balls, and relies on adding graphene nanoparticles to motor oil.
Researchers discovered that when their nanoparticle powder was added to motor oil, the newly formed substance performed better than many of the commercial oils currently available to purchase.
Speaking about the discover, Jiaxing Huang, a professor in material sciences at Northwestern University and a coauthor of the research, said:
“The way we make them is just like crumpled paper.”
However, the balls are more than 50 times thinner than a strand of human hair, unlike the paper balls on which they are based.
The newly discovered technique works by suspending nanoparticles of graphene in droplets of water. As the water evaporates, these nanoparticles are compressed and squeezed from all directions, forcing them into crumpled ball shapes. These are extremely stable and can be added to motor oil, where they behave like ball bearings, reducing friction and boosting performance by as much as 15%.