Tribological Behavior of Near-Frictionless Carbon Coatings in High- and Low- Sulfur Diesel Fuels
The sulfur content in diesel fuel has a significant effect on diesel engine emissions, which are currently subject to environmental regulations. It has been observed that engine particulate and gaseous emissions are directly proportional to fuel sulfur content. With the introduction of low- sulfur fuels, significant reductions in emissions are expected. The process of sulfur reduction in petroleum-based diesel fuels also reduces the lubricity of the fuel, resulting in premature failure of fuel injectors. Thus, another means of preventing injector failures is needed for engines operating with low- sulfur diesel fuels. In this study, we evaluated a near-frictionless carbon (NFC) coating (developed at Argonne National Laboratory) as a possible solution to the problems associated with fuel injector failures in low-lubricity fuels. Tribological tests were conducted with NFC-coated and uncoated H13 and 52100 steels lubricated with high- and low- sulfur diesel fuels in a high-frequency reciprocating test machine. The test results showed that the NFC coatings reduced wear rates by a factor of 10 over those of uncoated steel surfaces. In low-sulfur diesel fuel, the reduction in wear rate was even greater (i.e., by a factor of 12 compared to that of uncoated test pairs), indicating that the NFC coating holds promise as a potential solution to wear problems associated with the use of low-lubricity diesel fuels.