How Is Reducing Wear Eco-Friendly?
Jun 15 2021
In the global effort to slow climate change and slash carbon emissions, experts say reducing wear could be one of the most effective ways to reduce energy consumption across a wide range of industries. Not only does minimising friction increase the mechanical longevity of heavy-duty equipment, but it also has key environmental benefits.
The science of lubricating moving parts to minimise friction is part of a discipline called tribology. Scientists have been studying the mechanics of friction for centuries, with some of the earliest breakthroughs made by Leonardo da Vinci in the late 1400s.
Want to know more about tribology and its relevance to modern day industries? Below, we explore the environmental benefits of reducing wear and why all industries should prioritise mechanical efficiency in the name of Planet Earth.
Less wastage of raw materials
From recreational vehicles to industrial factories, powering moving parts requires fuel. When these moving parts are exposed to friction fuel consumption can skyrocket. A study from the VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland reveals one-third of fuel consumed by the average car is used to overcome mechanical friction. This includes resistance in the wheels, gearbox, brakes and engine. Reducing mechanical friction translates to less wastage of raw materials, as well as significant financial savings for motorists.
Maximising energy efficiency
Reducing friction can have a profound impact on energy efficiency. Imagine riding an old bicycle with warped and rusted parts, compared to a newly purchased, well-aligned and properly lubricated model. Fluidity and lack of mechanical friction mean it’s far easier to generate power and momentum on the new bicycle. The same concept applies to machinery, with well-maintained equipment generally using less energy than archaic equipment.
For energy-intensive applications such as mining, oil refining and manufacturing, the implications of maximising efficiency can be huge. As well as unlocking environmental benefits, wear reduction strategies can drastically reduce operational costs, improve productivity and increase profitability.
Environmentally friendly lubricants
One of the main goals of wear reduction is to minimise carbon emissions. So, it’s only natural that anti-wear additives should be eco-friendly and biodegradable. While many additives rely on environmentally damaging compounds such as sulphur, phosphorus, molybdenum and zinc, the new generation of bio-lubricants offer excellent performance without the environmental footprint.
The capacity to minimise greenhouse gas emissions, increase mechanical longevity and reduce operational costs makes wear reduction a top priority for all industries. This has ensured the markets for new technologies such as lubricant additives and surface coatings is booming. Find out more about the latest methods and technologies being used to reduce friction in ‘Wear Protection: The Key to Long-Term Sustainability’.
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