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ASB Industries Jonathan Fouts & U of Akron Cohort Work to Improve Additive-Surface Interactions

Dec 13, 2016

ASB’s Jonathan Fouts & U of Akron Cohort Work to Improve Additive-Surface Interactions Jonathan Fouts, ASB Industries’ Director of Research & Development and a PhD candidate in the Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering Department at the University of Akron (Ohio), along with a team of fellow researchers, recently concluded a project that examined the relationship between lubricant additives and ferrous and non-ferrous surfaces. These additives are widely used, but there had previously been very little research into how they interact with the surfaces onto which they’re applied. Almost no experimental data has been collected to look at the mechanisms by which anti-wear and extreme pressure additives in lubricants actually protect surfaces onto which they’re applied.

Fouts’ team’s project was commissioned last year by the Industrial Advisory Board of the Center for Surface Engineering Lubrication Research (CSELR), located at the University of Akron. Dr. Paul Schiller, a research scientist for Timken Engineered Surface Laboratories (also located at the University of Akron), was chosen as lead researcher. Fouts and fellow PhD student Marisa Seeley conducted research into reactions between sulfur-based additives and ferrous and non-ferrous surfaces as functions of temperature and/or pressure. The team made several significant findings. Among them, the discovery that the catalytic nature of ferrous surfaces appears to drive the formation of Fe-S (iron-sulfur) bonds, with temperature as a critical parameter affecting the process.

The research also supported an existing hypothesis regarding increased wear rates of certain specialized materials when exposed to sulfur-based additives. Founded in 2014 by STLE (Tribology and Lubrication Engineering Society) Fellow and Timken Professor for Surface Engineering Gary Doll, CSELR itself was commissioned by several likeminded corporations. CSELR’s mission is to provide pre-competitive research on projects that are conceived and overseen by the CSELR Industrial Advisory Board. The findings of the CSELR study provide new insights into the tribochemical mechanisms that lubricated surfaces experience during operation. It also gave Fouts the opportunity to gain experience in cutting-edge experimentation for surface coatings. As Fouts himself stated, he has “grown stronger in research skills” through the project, which will undoubtedly be of great benefit in his role at ASB Industries.

*Reprinted with permission from the December 2016 issue of TLT, the official monthly magazine of the Society of Tribologists and Lubrication Engineers, an international not-for-profit technical society headquartered in Park Ridge, Illinois