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Understanding of adsorption mechanism and tribological behaviors of C18 fatty acids on iron-based surfaces : a molecular simulation approach

Abstract : The current requirements in automotive lubrication impose complex formulation. Among all the additives present in oil, the presence of molybdenum dithiocarbamate and zinc dithiophosphate, both tribological additives containing sulfur and phosphorous is found. For environmental reasons, it is important to reduce or eliminate the presence of these two elements contained in oil. Organic molecules based on carbon, oxygen and hydrogen seems to be good candidate. The lubrication mechanism of fatty acids (e.g. stearic, oleic and linoleic acids) is revisited with a new approach combining experimental and computational chemistry studies. First, the adsorption mechanisms of fatty acids on iron-based surfaces are investigated by Ultra-Accelerated Quantum Chemistry Molecular Dynamics simulations. The adsorption of fatty acids on iron oxide surface occurred through the acid group. Depending on the nature of the substrate, on the density of the film and on the tilt angle between the molecule and the surface, different adsorption mechanisms (physisorption and chemisorption) can occur. Stearic acid molecules form a close-packed and well-arranged monolayer whereas unsaturation acids cannot because of steric effects induced by double carbon-carbon bonds. The friction process favors the formation of carboxylate function. Results are confirmed by surface analysis (XPS and PM-IRRAS). Tribological properties of pure fatty acids, blended in PAO 4 and mixture of saturated/unsaturated acids are studied by MD simulations and tribotests. Low friction coefficient with no visible wear is reported for pure stearic acid and single stearic acid blended in PAO 4 at 1%w at high temperature. This lubricating behavior is inhibited in the presence of unsaturated acids, especially at 150 °C. MD simulation results show a faster diffusion toward the surface for unsaturated fatty acids than for stearic acid at all studied temperature.
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Sophie Loehle. Understanding of adsorption mechanism and tribological behaviors of C18 fatty acids on iron-based surfaces : a molecular simulation approach. Other. Ecole Centrale de Lyon; Tōhoku Daigaku (Sendai, Japon), 2014. English. ⟨NNT : 2014ECDL0005⟩. ⟨tel-00999372⟩

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