Solid Film Lubricants for Improved Maintenance and Sustainment

NCMS Project #: 142061

Problem: While many design advancements have increased the performance of the internal combustion engines (ICEs), frictional energy losses in the piston assembly remains one of the largest contributors to reduced efficiency, with no less than one third of fuel consumption spent overcoming friction in the engine itself which leads to increased system heat and premature component wear.

Benefit: A continued collaborative effort between commercial and military entities to further explore the most recent innovative commercial solutions is necessary, and in the case herein may offer a drop-in technology solution for many military vehicle ICEs. The proposed project is aimed at exploring the most recent commercial advancements in solid film lubricant coating technologies for military ICE piston assemblies to reduce friction and wear in high temperature, high pressure military ICEs, and a successful demonstration will encourage widespread application across the services.

Solution/Approach: The aim of this effort is to investigate, develop, and demonstrate low-friction, environmentally friendly and commercially feasible solid lubricant formulations that would significantly improve the mechanical efficiency of modern engines without incurring increased wear, emissions or deterioration of the emission-aftertreatment system.  The evaluation will be performed using a military ICE to replicate the potential benefits that can be achieved when adopted for use in a commercial ICE. Specifically, demonstration of solid film lubricant technologies will utilize the suite of Next-Generation Combat Vehicles (NGCVs) as a surrogate to vet this technology.

Impact on Warfighter:

  • Boost torque 
  • Improve fuel efficiency 
  • Lower operating temperatures 
  • Increase durability and extend service life of equipment 
  • Reduce maintenance costs and downtime
  • Improve warfighter operability and mission readiness 

DOD Participation:

  • U.S. Army Ground Vehicle Systems Center (GVSC)

Industry Participation:

  • PPG Industries, Inc.
  • NCMS

Benefit Area(s):

  • Cost savings
  • Maintenance avoidance and reliability
  • Positive environmental impact
  • Maintenance management improvement
  • Improved readiness
  • Energy efficiency
  • Durability
  • Reliability improvement
  • Lightweighting

Focus Area:

  • Repair development