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The Capacity of Superfinished Vehicle Components to Increase Fuel Economy

By: Lane Winkelmann, Omer El–Saeed and Matt Bell, REM Chemicals Inc.­

Technical Papers and White Papers

The lubricant industry is emphasizing the use of low-viscosity lubricants to increase fuel economy. Fuel mileage increases as high as 8% are claimed when conventional engine and driveline lubricants are replaced with new generation products. The low viscosity lubricants, however, must contain beefed-up anti-wear and extreme pressure additives, since lower viscosity lubricants significantly reduce the l ratio. Consequently, making the switch to lower viscosity lubricants in order to gain fuel economy entails risk. Should the additive package fail to perform, engine, transmission and drivetrain components will be seriously damaged.

It seems appropriate then, that efforts should also be undertaken to increase the l ratio for low viscosity lubricants. This, of course, can be done by reducing surface roughness. Superfinishing the surface using chemically accelerated vibratory finishing is a practical and well proven approach for accomplishing this. This paper will present data from both laboratory and field testing that demonstrates that superfinished components operate with lower friction, operating temperature, wear and/or higher horsepower, which translate directly into increased fuel economy.


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