Abstract : Water based lubricants are widely used in metal forming processes due to their good cooling and lubrication capabilities. The goal of this work is to correlate the structural properties of the lubricant to its lubricating behaviour. As mixtures of ethylene diamine and fatty acids in water are some of the main ingredients of such lubricants, their phase behaviour and tribological properties are investigated for different compositions. The phase diagram of the model system is established by using optical microscopy of polarisation, small angle X-rays scattering (SAXS) and freeze-fracture transmission electron microscopy (FF-TEM). For a molar ratio between diamine and fatty acids upper to 1, a succession of lamellar, hexagonal and micellar phases is observed with the dilution. A particular attention is turned to the lamellar phase which presents defects close the transition towards the hexagonal phase. According to SAXS, nuclear magnetic resonance and FF-TEM analyses, we propose that their existence is due to a modulation of the bilayer thickness and an increase of the curvature resulted from the evolution of the coupling between the fatty acids polar heads and the amine counterions. The lubricating ability of these phases is then investigated experimentally using an EHL tribometre that simultaneously enables contact visualisation, film thickness and friction measurements in controlled kinematic conditions. The influence of the lubricant structure on its tribological behaviour is revealing: the lowest friction coefficients are obtained with lamellar samples. The organisation in bilayers of the lamellar phase within the contact and its piezoviscous properties can explain its greater load-bearing capacity and its natural predisposition to the reduction of the friction.