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Tuesday,August 20,2019 05:41 AM

Fluid friction promoted motor industry

By Vision Reporter

Added 1st December 2003 03:00 AM

Whether it is in the Harry Potter stories, the Lord of the Rings or Walt Disney’s Snow White Cartoons, people love tales that astonish and is the darling of kids.

By Gilbert Obel

Whether it is in the Harry Potter stories, the Lord of the Rings or Walt Disney’s Snow White Cartoons, people love tales that astonish and is the darling of kids.

The usual theme is that some ancient wizards like Merlin, mixes a mysterious magical potion that can help tip the balance of power against his foes.

That is fiction, but in the motor industry, similar chemistry has been concocted in hundreds of labs across the world by
modern wizards, otherwise known as chemical engineers to produce chemical compounds whose effect is no less magical in fighting friction, rust, heat, dust, pressure, and other noxious chemicals in your vehicle that even include bacteria. Take the tiny bearings around which you wheels turn.

They run on small rails very similar to the train wheels on a railway track, only at speeds several hundred times faster.

Without grease the toughest bearings would burn up within less then a kilometre of driving. More than a 100 years ago, chemical engineers discovered fluid friction, the friction of a fluid on one surface rubbing on fluid on another surface. Since then, the motor industry, has grown by leaps and bounds because it was found that fluid friction, unlike dry friction, produces very little heat.

Grease, for example, has chemical additives like lithium, Lime-soda, zinc-oxide and metallic soaps that makes it have a very high boiling point, to the extent that you can leave a can of grease in the scorching sun, but its temperature will remain the same.

And because grease contains numerous chemicals that react negatively with electrolyte, it is not recommended for use on your battery terminals. Apart from petrol or diesel, the average car must have more than six different oils to keep it running, including engine oil, gearbox or automatic transmission oil among others.

Fluid friction promoted motor industry

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