Oil-Soluble Silver-Organic Molecule for in Situ Deposition of Lubricious Metallic Silver at High Temperatures.
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A major challenge in lubrication technology is to enhance lubricant performance at extreme temperatures that exceed conventional engine oil thermal degradation limits. Soft noble metals such as silver have low reactivity and shear strength, which make them ideal solid lubricants for wear protection and friction reduction between contacting surfaces at high temperatures. However, achieving adequate dispersion in engine lubricants and metallic silver deposition over predetermined temperatures ranges presents a significant chemical challenge. Here we report the synthesis, characterization, and tribological implementation of the trimeric silver pyrazolate complex, [Ag(3,5-dimethyl-4-n-hexyl-pyrazolate)]3 (1). This complex is oil-soluble and undergoes clean thermolysis at 310 C to deposit lubricious, protective metallic silver particles on metal/metal oxide surfaces. Temperature-controlled tribometer tests show that greater than 1 wt % loading of 1 reduces wear by 60% in PAO4, a poly--olefin lubricant base fluid, and by 70% in a commercial fully formulated 15W40 motor oil (FF oil). This silver-organic complex also imparts sufficient friction reduction so that the tribological transition from oil as the primary lubricant through its thermal degradation, to 1 as the primary lubricant, is experimentally undetectable.