Alkyl-Cyclens as Effective Sulfur- and Phosphorus-Free Friction Modifiers for Boundary Lubrication

Michael Desanker, Xingliang He, Jie Lu, Pinzhi Liu, David B. Pickens, Massimiliano Delferro, Tobin J Marks, Yip Wah Chung, Q. Jane Wang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

17 Citations (Scopus)


Modern automotive engines operate at higher power densities than ever before, driving a need for new lubricant additives capable of reducing friction and wear further than ever before while not poisoning the catalytic converter. Reported in this paper is a new class of molecular friction modifier (FM), represented by 1,4,7,10-tetradodecyl-1,4,7,10-tetraazacyclododecane (1a), designed to employ thermally stable, sulfur- and phosphorus-free alkyl-substituted nitrogen heterocycles with multiple nitrogen centers per molecule. The multiple nitrogen centers enable cooperative binding to a surface which provides strong surface adsorption and lubricant film durability in the boundary lubrication (BL) regime. A 1 wt % loading of the cyclen FM 1a in Group III base oil exhibits strong surface adsorption, leading to excellent reductions in friction (70%) and wear (95%) versus the pure Group III oil across a wide temperature range. The lubricant with the new FM additive also outperforms two commercially available noncyclic amine-based FMs and a fully formulated commercial 5W30 motor oil.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)9118-9125
Number of pages8
JournalACS Applied Materials and Interfaces
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - Mar 15 2017



  • boundary lubrication
  • friction modifier
  • heterocyclic
  • lubrication additive
  • wear

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Materials Science(all)

Cite this

Desanker, M., He, X., Lu, J., Liu, P., Pickens, D. B., Delferro, M., Marks, T. J., Chung, Y. W., & Wang, Q. J. (2017). Alkyl-Cyclens as Effective Sulfur- and Phosphorus-Free Friction Modifiers for Boundary Lubrication. ACS Applied Materials and Interfaces, 9(10), 9118-9125.