We deal with friction each and every day of our lives, and in most cases, accept it as normal. Friction creates the static electrical charge we experience as a shock in our homes and offices. The atmosphere creates friction, which heats objects moving through it. The friction we wish to discuss today is friction created when metal parts — even precision machined — are required to contact one another in the industrial environment.
The Industrial Revolution began in the 1700s with innovations such as the agriculture sowing drill, and it began to accelerate with the introduction of oil. In 1859, the first commercially productive oil well was drilled in Pennsylvania. With oil and its distilled products, we developed the internal combustion engine and began precision machining. Oil was the preferred lubricant. With RPM increases, tolerances decreased and load factors dramatically increased.Friction became a major deterrent to long life and reliable equipment operation. Our old reliable oil is destroyed with excess heat, and as friction continues, we produce metal particles that further accelerate wear. We created synthetic oils, oil filters and oil additives in an effort to better tolerate heat, remove soils or add components to make the oil and metal components slick. Oil additives are the most recent attempts to reduce friction, and they have made a major impact in the lubrication market due to manipulative advertising. Unfortunately, few — if any — live up to their claims.
To our knowledge, there are two major types of additive groups distributed under many names. Both use solids ground to small sizes, designed to be carried by the oil in an attempt to provide an additional barrier between metal parts. They are graphite and/or Teflon-based products. Most of these have instructions to shake the can or bottle well prior to use. Why? Solids tend to settle out of liquid. (How well can you shake a two-ton car or ten-ton press after the additive is added??)
Most state that up to 50,000 miles or months of continuous operation are required to realize the full potential benefit. In the case of Teflon, a temperature of 700 degrees F is required to bond Teflon to metal.
Until recently, there was no alternative. Today, there is!
The answer is to treat ferrous metal itself, not to simply apply a coating that will wear off. If metal was treated to a depth of up to 3 to 5 microns with a substance that smoothed pores, gouges and imperfections, and if we treated both surfaces, we could accomplish what had not been done before.
In this metal conditioning method, we create two surfaces that are in fact smooth, have no detectable imperfections, no surface area to wear, and a dramatic lowering of operating temperatures. If this could be accomplished, we could extend machinery life, lower maintenance, experience less downtime, lower oil and grease change intervals (lower temperature, less friction = lower to no metallic in oil), and with less friction in an automobile, we have greater gas mileage.