Tribology Vital to Reducing Carbon Emissions
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Tribology Vital to Reducing Carbon Emissions

Dec 05, 2022

Sustainability is more than a buzzword – it’s a business necessity. The demand for lower carbon emissions along the supply chain is gathering pace. The right tribology can play a vital role in reducing resource consumption and carbon emissions by increasing efficiency and equipment lifespan and therefore the sustainability of operations.

We can see the effects of friction everywhere in today’s highly mechanized world, from motors to train tracks and agricultural machinery to concrete plants. Friction produced from any interacting surfaces in motion consumes energy. It is obvious that we don’t need to produce energy upstream if we then waste it downstream and release it into the environment. 

While friction can be a useful force, too much can damage whatever object it affects. The nuisance of wear generates waste and it fuels materials hunger. These in turn put a greater strain on limited resources. Any resource consumed has an embedded carbon footprint, as well as a monetary cost. 

In their new paper, Mathias Woydt, the managing director of Berlin-based tribology consultancy Matrilub, and Raj Shah and Gavin Thomas of American testing equipment Koehler Instrument Co. ask what are the monetary values for investments in reducing friction and extending equipment and lubricant longevity? 

Properly applying the right tribology to reduce friction saves carbon emissions without losing function. Subsequently, this reduction proportionally reduces wear and allows for the increased lifespan of the lubricated objects. 

Taking friction reduction and equipment longevity together helps limit or reduce emissions by getting more from the same resources. The right lubrication, condition monitoring, reparability or wear resistant materials and coatings all help minimize friction and extend lifespan.