With the influx of advanced machines and tools in the industrial sector to achieve efficiency in their performance, the need for lubricants for these machines and tools to produce desired output also arises. A lubricant is a thin film that minimizes friction between moving metal parts by preventing metal-to-metal contact. The application of lubricants to ease out the movement of machine parts is not new and has been there before the dawn of Iron Age. However with complexities present in the modern machineries, use of additives in lubricants to improve their properties is a must.
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A base fluid together with an additive package constitutes a lubricant. The main function of the base fluid is to lubricate and carry additives. Additives are added either to improve an existing property or to add a new property to the base fluid. The already existing properties include viscosity index, viscosity, oxidation resistance and pour point. The new properties which are added may include friction reduction, leak reduction, cleaning and suspending ability, corrosion control and anti-wear performance. A friction additive is used to reduce the friction between the moving metal parts. It functions by forming a durable low resistant lubricant film as it is absorbed on the metal surface via association with the base fluid. Common materials such as molybdenum compounds, long chin fatty acids and their derivatives can be used as additives to inhibit friction in oil. In addition to minimizing friction, these additives also help in reducing wear at low temperatures and enhance fuel efficiency. The aging of machine parts causes them to wear. At higher operating temperatures the thickened grease matrix gets destroyed thus resulting in oil leakage into the combustion chamber via other machine parts and get burned away with the fuels. Oil leakage also causes contamination of the lubricants. Hence, leak reducing additives are required that would prevent softening of the lubricant under high shear or at high operating temperatures. Chemical compounds used as leak reducing additives in oil are long chain, high molecular weight polymers.
Amidst the declining oil prices the friction and leak-reducing additives market is expected to grow in order to fast growing demands of the industries, especially the automotive industry among others. The key drivers for such market to develop are the abilities of the additives to improve fuel efficiency and ensure prolonged lifetime of the machineries. Furthermore, the frequent amendments in the emission norms around the globe may also contribute to such lubricant additives market to progress in the coming years. The stagnant demand for high end gasoline by the industries and huge investment involved in the research and development of such additives may intervene in such market development.
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Asia pacific is expected to be the largest market for friction and leak reducing additives market in the coming years as it is the global manufacturing hub of the world. Especially emerging economies like China and India maintaining their low cost of production may be attractive for the additives market to develop. Additionally the revised emission norms in these nations may also call for increased usage of friction and leak reducing additives, thus leading to such market to progress. North America and Europe are expected to follow Asia Pacific in such market growth. Europe is predicted to experience slow growth due to its economic slowdown. The Middle East and Africa are also projected towards slow growth of the lubricant additives market owing to ongoing political unrest over there.
The lubricant additives market is segmented based on products such as grease, mineral oil, bio-based oil, and synthetic oil. Grease is formed by adding a thickener at apt proportion to the mixture of base oil and additives. A mineral oil lubricant uses mineral oil derived from crude oil as the base fluid. In synthetic oil lubricant synthetic oil containing synthetic hydrocarbons such as polyester, di-ester and many others is used as a base fluid. Bio-based oil used as a base fluid in bio-based oil lubricant.
Some of the key players in friction and leak reducing market are BASF SE, Evonic Industries Ag, The Lubrizol Corporation, And Chevron Oronite Company,LLC.