MESA+ University of Twente
Inorganic Materials Science Group

Research

NOVEL GRAPHITE-FREE LUBRICANT FOR HOT AND WARM FORGING OF STEEL

PhD Student: Pablo Gonzalez

Supervisor: André ten Elshof

The aim of this project is to develop a new generation of solid lubricants for the forging processes.

For hot and warm steel forging, involving temperatures between 200-1200°C, graphite-in-water lubricants are recognized to be the best for both lubrication and tool life. Lubricious properties of graphite are based on its unique structure.

However, some problems associated to its use are reported, e.g. the presence of black spots in the final pieces, generation of pitting corrosion and short circuits in the machinery.

Most graphite-free lubricants currently on the market are based on organic polymeric salts in water. However, organic polymers decompose or degrade at medium or high temperatures. Inorganic materials (ceramics) seem to be more suitable compounds for their thermal and chemical stability. Ceramics have particular crystallographic structure that make them stable at high temperatures and against corrosive agents. Nevertheless, ceramics are known commonly for having poor mechanical properties.

In this project, a new class of soft-ceramics, with nano-engineered structures, is going to be produced and tested in laboratory. These soft ceramics are aimed to be plastically deformed under high shear at high  temperatures, and thus be applicable as solid state lubricant.