Lubricants can be vital to the efficient operation and life-time of machinery in a wide range of applications from industrial machining, mining and manufacturing through to the cars we drive. A successful lubricant for the correct automotive industry application can improve efficiency and lower costs. As such, the lubricant itself must be design for the task and to meet the needs of the local environment.
Advances in hardware in the modern engine have driven the automotive industry to develop high performance products which can operate both at ambient temperature and pressure right through to the demanding high temperature and pressure environments experienced during engine operation. In a global supply chain, the products themselves must withstand the extremes of temperature over their lifetime and retain their performance. These strict criteria create ongoing automotive industry research and development challenges.
Understanding how these lubricants perform under these conditions is essential to the understanding of these products and for developing design rules for formulating the next generation of high performance products.
At Diamond, we specialise in providing facilities and services for in situ experiments for automotive research, mimicking the conditions experienced under working conditions as closely as possible providing improved understanding of products and processes relevant to the automotive industry. Using the bright light produced by a synchrotron, we can offer time resolved experiments down to millisecond time resolution access a range of different chemical, structural or imaging techniques.
With applications in areas as diverse as chemistry, materials and engineering, Diamond can help the automotive industry investigate the chemical changes in a lubricant under operating conditions (for example changes in oxidation state), investigate structural changes during crystallisation in cold climates (read more on this topic below or in our case study with Infineum) and directly image processing with advanced X-ray imaging techniques.
The Industrial Liaison team, a group of professional, experienced scientists with a diverse range of expertise, is dedicated to helping the automotive industry access the facilities at Diamond. We offer services ranging from full service; a bespoke experimental design, data collection, data analysis and reporting service through to providing facilities for you to conduct your own automotive research using our experimental techniques.
Diamond offers a range of X-ray diffraction techniques which can be employed to investigate structure and structural changes down to the nanoscale. X-ray crystallography and powder diffraction can provide structural information on the nanoscale, allowing us to identify specific phases, and changes occurring under processing conditions, of particular importance in many processes in the automotive industry.
The “freezing” of diesel fuel in winter has been a problem for the automotive industry since its inception. Wax crystals nucleate and grow and block fuel lines and filters which can lead to vehicle failures and motorists being stranded. Presenting a significant challenge for automotive research, additives have been developed which are used to control these crystals but, over recent years, the use of biofuels (fatty acid methyl esters) within diesel blends has become increasingly common. This can adversely affect the low temperature operability of the fuel. Legislation governing the automotive industry demands that biofuels are part of diesel blends throughout the EU, with levels expected to increase.
Conventional fuel additives, aimed at preventing crystallisation problems in such conventional fuel and biofuel mixtures, often have difficulty in treating all fuel types. Scientists at Infineum, a leading additives manufacturer for the automotive industry, used Diamond to help develop new fuel additives to combat this problem. Read more about how powder diffraction experiments at Diamond benefitted Infineum’s business in our case study.
A two day science conference, iCAR 2015: Illuminating Challenges in Automotive Research was hosted at Diamond on 4th and 5th November in partnership with Infineum, a world-class formulator, manufacturer and marketer of petroleum additives. The conference presented an opportunity for academia and research institutions to come together with research scientists from the automotive, oil and petrochemical industries to discuss the challenges and understand how cutting edge science can provide insights and solutions to address the obstacles to greener transportation and energy production.
In addition to leading industry figures discussing key current research challenges, session topics included novel tools and techniques for automotive research, challenges arising from hardware changes and developments in fuels and lubricants, environment and transport and propulsion. Delegates also had the opportunity to tour the Diamond Light Source including the accelerator and experimental areas.
iCAR 2015 was a follow up to the very successful iCAR 2013 meeting which brought together 100 attendees from the automotive industry and academics from automotive related research fields. Over 20 speakers from both business and research backgrounds gave a global and automotive industry-wide perspective on the challenges and opportunities facing the automotive industry. They heard presentations on subjects as diverse as how catalysts can reduce polluting compounds from exhaust gases, new materials for automotive manufacturing, hydrogen powered vehicles, and how synchrotron research is facilitating greater understanding of these developments. The short film below gives a sneak peak of the conference and the types of discussions that took place.
The Industrial Liaison team at Diamond is a group of professional, experienced scientists with a diverse range of expertise, is dedicated to helping scientists and engineers from the automotive industry and related fields access the facilities at Diamond. We’re all specialists in different techniques and have a diverse range of backgrounds so we’re able to provide a multi-disciplinary approach to solving your automotive research and development problems. We offer services ranging from full service; a bespoke experimental design, data collection, data analysis and reporting service through to providing facilities for you to conduct your own experiments.
We’re always happy to discuss any enquiries or talk about ways in which access to Diamond’s facilities may be beneficial to your business so please do get in touch.
Phone: +44 (0)1235 778797
Diamond Light Source is the UK's national synchrotron science facility, located at the Harwell Science and Innovation Campus in Oxfordshire.
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