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SMU Professor & Students Complete Nserc Engage Project

Dr. Jason Clyburne and his research students Alex McPherson and Andrew Long, recently completed an NSERC Engage grant for a collaborative research project with Cytec Industries Inc, a global specialty chemicals and materials company. The NSERC Engage grant program is geared towards linking university researchers with Canadian industries to close the growing information gap between knowledge and practice. This research grant was awarded to fund an investigation into the enhancement of specialty lubricant oils.

Ionic liquids are molten salts that remain liquid below 100 degrees Celsius. Phosphonium-based ILs have demonstrated promising characteristics for additives in lubricant applications. The most promising properties include high thermal stability, low flammability, negligible vapour pressure and also solubility in a variety of base oil lubricants. Additionally these phosphonium cations can be selectively paired with a wide range of coordinating anions which exhibit properties that are desirable for enhanced lubrication.

The goal of this partnership was to combine Dr. Jason Clyburne’s expertise in green chemical applications of ionic liquids with the industrial and manufacturing expertise of Cytec Industries in order to formulate and synthesize a series of new liquid additives to increase the efficiency and longevity of value added lubricant oils. These specialty chemicals can have applications in green industries such as wind turbines and high efficiency machinery. The additives can be tailored to increase wear protection and corrosion prevention which can enable synthetic lubricants of lower viscosities to provide similar lubricant properties of higher viscosity lubricants at greater efficiency and longevity.