The SAM Model for Wear Inhibitor Performance of Dithiophosphates on Iron Oxide Academic Article uri icon


  • Zinc dithiophosphate (DTP) molecules have long been used as wear inhibitor oil additives for automotive engines. In order to obtain an atomistic understanding of the mechanism by which these molecules inhibit wear, we examined the geometries, energetics, and vibrations of an oxidized iron surface [(001) surface of α-Fe2O3] using the MSX force field (FF) based on ab initio quantum chemistry (QC) calculations. The DTP molecules studied include (RO)2PS2 with R = methyl, isobutyl, isopropyl, and phenyl. The α-Fe2O3 surface is described using the generalized valence bond (GVB) model of bonding. The geometries, binding energies, and vibrational frequencies from ab initio calculations on simple clusters are used with the biased Hessian method to develop the MSX FF suitable for describing the binding of DTP molecules to the surfaces. We find that the cohesive energies for the self-assembled monolayers (SAM) of the DTP molecules on the Fe2O3 surface correlate with the antiwear performance observed in experimental engine tests. This suggests that the search for more effective and environmentally benign wear inhibitors can use the cohesive energies for SAM formation as a criterion in selecting and prioritizing compounds for experimental testing.

author list (cited authors)

  • Jiang, S., Frazier, R., Yamaguchi, E. S., Blanco, M., Dasgupta, S., Zhou, Y., ... Goddard, W. A.

citation count

  • 29

publication date

  • September 1997