Synthetic Lubricants Derived from Plastic Waste and their Tribological Performance

Hackler R. A., Vyavhare K., Kennedy R. M., ÇELİK G., Kanbur U., Griffin P. J., ...More

ChemSusChem, vol.14, no.19, pp.4181-4189, 2021 (SCI-Expanded) identifier identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 14 Issue: 19
  • Publication Date: 2021
  • Doi Number: 10.1002/cssc.202100912
  • Journal Name: ChemSusChem
  • Journal Indexes: Science Citation Index Expanded (SCI-EXPANDED), Scopus, Applied Science & Technology Source, Chemical Abstracts Core, Chimica, Compendex, EMBASE, INSPEC, MEDLINE
  • Page Numbers: pp.4181-4189
  • Keywords: depolymerization, lubricants, plastics, polyolefins, upcycling, CHAIN-LENGTH, POLYETHYLENE, PYROLYSIS, VISCOSITY, OIL, HYDROGENOLYSIS, EXTRACTION, PRESSURE, SURFACES, FUELS
  • Middle East Technical University Affiliated: Yes


© 2021 Wiley-VCH GmbHThe energy efficiency, mechanical durability, and environmental compatibility of all moving machine components rely heavily on advanced lubricants for smooth and safe operation. Herein an alternative family of high-quality liquid (HQL) lubricants was derived by the catalytic conversion of pre- and post-consumer polyolefin waste. The plastic-derived lubricants performed comparably to synthetic base oils such as polyalphaolefins (PAOs), both with a wear scar volume (WSV) of 7.5×10−5 mm−3. HQLs also performed superior to petroleum-based lubricants such as Group III mineral oil with a WSV of 1.7×10−4 mm−3, showcasing a 44 % reduction in wear. Furthermore, a synergistic reduction in friction and wear was observed when combining the upcycled plastic lubricant with synthetic oils. Life cycle and techno-economic analyses also showed this process to be energetically efficient and economically feasible. This novel technology offers a cost-effective opportunity to reduce the harmful environmental impact of plastic waste on our planet and to save energy through reduction of friction and wear-related degradations in transportation applications akin to synthetic oils.