Sustainability Blog

Lubricating with Water Makes the Industry Hot Under the Collar

By Simon Johns - Jun 10, 2021

Tribologists might recoil in horror if someone suggests water as a lubricant. Ingress of water in a lubricant is normally a disaster. But an Austrian clean tech company has developed a high-performance gearbox lubrication system using the aquaplane effect of water.

The properties of the water are secondary to the gear material’s optimum hardness, elasticity and corrosion for the system to work. But water does seem to form an effective tribological layer that cools at the same time.

Reintrieb’s water lubrication model works in the lab but more research needs to be done, the company said. Conventional lube blenders can breathe a sigh of relief for now. But the company has made a prototype submergible gearbox for ships. Environmentally acceptable lubricant makers should keep eye on these Viennese engineers.

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