Reducing friction to save fuel
CARS will improve their fuel economy by 18 per cent in the next five to 10 years, according to a joint Finnish/american study.
Savings will be made by using slick new surfaces on the inside of your engine, lubricant additives, low-viscosity lubricants and low-friction tyres inflated to pressures higher than normal.
A joint study by VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland and Argonne National Laboratory (ANL) in the US has found these technologies can reduce friction by anything from 10 to 80 per cent in various components of a car.
The study predicts that reducing friction will lead to fuel savings and reduced emissions up to 18 per cent within the next five to 10 years, and up to 61 per cent within 15 to 25 years.
Researchers have found that friction accounts for a third of all energy loss in a car. Together with other losses through cooling, air resistance and exhaust emissions, only 21.5 per cent of the energy output of the fuel is used to move the car. The study found friction can be cut by 10 to 50 per cent by using new surfaces inside engines such as diamond-like carbon materials and nanocomposites.
A further 25 to 50 per cent of friction can be reduced by laser texturing to etch a microtopography on the surface of engine internals to channel lubricant and reduce internal pressures, reducing fuel usage by 4 per cent.
Ionic liquids made of electrically charged molecules that repel one another will produce a further 25 to 50 per cent reduction in friction.