Large-scale lubricant manufacture

The US Department of Energy has awarded Springdale, Arkansas-based Nanomech a grant of $150,000 (£101,000) to demonstrate the viability of manufacturing its Nanoglide lubricant on a large scale.

The lubricant is claimed to reduce friction and mechanical component wear in conditions of extreme pressure in applications ranging from earth movers to helicopters and wind turbines.

Created from nanoparticle research at the University of Arkansas under the direction of Nanomech CTO and UA professor Dr Ajay Malshe, Nanomech has an exclusive licence to commercialise the patent-pending technology.

Friction is one of the major reasons for failure of vital engineering components and systems used in aerospace, military and industrial applications. The annual cost of friction and wear-related energy and material losses is estimated to be over $700bn – five to seven per cent of the US’s $14tn gross national product.

When scale-up is completed, Nanomech will be able to produce lubricants and related products in a variety of forms, such as an additive for oils or greases, a paste or an aerosol spray.

The grant is part of a Phase I Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) award funded by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009. If the project is successful, it could lead to a Phase II grant of up to $1m.