Theses and Dissertations

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Mechanical Engineering

First Advisor

Dr. Javier Ortega

Second Advisor

Dr. Arturo Fuentes

Third Advisor

Dr. Mataz Alcoutlabi


Nowadays, the depletion of crude oil reserves in the world and the global concern in protecting the environment from contamination have renewed interest in developing environment friendly lubricants derived from alternative sources such as vegetable oils. Mineral oil is the most common lubricant, however, it also has poor biodegradable properties. Vegetable oils exhibit good viscosity index, flash point, pour point, tribological properties, and are biodegradable. Furthermore, the use of nanoparticles as additives has shown to improve anti wear and anti-friction properties of the base lubricant. The present research project will evaluate experimentally the rheological and tribological behavior of coconut oil, sunflower oil, and grapeseed oil modified with nanoparticle additives. Three different nanoparticle additives are investigated: silicon dioxide (SiO2), copper oxide (CuO), and titanium dioxide (TiO2). For the three conditions, nanoparticles were dispersed at different concentrations within the vegetable oil. The effects of concentration and shear rate on the viscosity were evaluated and the experimental data was compared with conventional models. Wear scars were analyzed using SEM, EDS, and roughness to identify nanoparticle effect. From the experimental results, it was found that wear volume loss and coefficient of friction were lowered. The developed modified vegetable oil nano-lubricants show potential as possible replacements to conventional mineral oils.


Copyright 2020 Vicente Cortes. All Rights Reserved.