Theses and Dissertations

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Mechanical Engineering

First Advisor

Dr. Javier A. Ortega

Second Advisor

Dr. Horacio Vasquez

Third Advisor

Dr. Arturo Fuentes


Because of the environmental impact and price volatility, there has been a growing concern on the use of petroleum-based lubricants. This issue has stimulated research into the development of biodegradable lubricants like vegetable oils. In this study, the tribological and rheological behavior of sunflower, peanut, and corn oils modified with Montmorillonite nanoclay (MMT) as lubricant additives were evaluated at various concentrations. A custom-made block on ring tribotester was used to evaluate the wear and friction characteristics of the nano-lubricants, following the ASTM G-077-05 standard. The effects of concentration and shear rate on shear viscosity were studied using a parallel plate rheometer, and the experimental data was compared with conventional models. A custom-made tapping torque tester was used to determine the torque of the specimen following the ASTM D5619-00 standard. Analytical methods, including scanning electron microscopy (SEM), X-Ray diffraction (XRD), thermogravimetric analysis (TGA), and profilometry, were used to characterize the morphology and structure of the MMT nanoclay. The experimental results showed that the volumetric wear, coefficient of friction and torque of the system decreased with the addition of MMT nanoparticles, at different concentrations, compared to the base vegetable oils. In conclusion, the newly developed vegetable oil-based nano-lubricants with the addition of MMT nanoclay, look like a promising environmentally friendly solution to compete with petroleum-based lubricants.


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