A material discovered at the Weizmann Institute of Science has shown superior properties as a machine lubricant in tests simulating industrial conditions. When compared with the best existing lubricants, the material reduced friction between moving metal parts to less than half, and also cut wear on parts by up to six times.

"Lubricants reduce friction, and reduced friction means that machinery parts work more efficiently,
so that cars, for example, would use less gasoline
In the mid-1980's, American scientists made the revolutionary discovery that in certain conditions carbon atoms will cluster together to form a stable, hollow sphere that remarkably resembles a soccer ball.These round carbon molecules, which won their discoverers the 1996 Nobel Prize in Chemistry, were named fullerenes after R. Buckminster Fuller,
the architect famous for designing domes with a soccer ball structure.

But in 1992, Weizmann Institute scientists led by Tenne and colleagues discovered that a synthetic inorganic molecule, tungsten disulfide, also forms fullerene-like balls in certain conditions. This finding opened a new field of research in materials science.
The result was an amazing lubricant, a tungsten disulfide fullerene-like molecule showing properties that make it particularly suitable for use as a lubricant. Its round shape means it does not adhere to other substances, and it is larger than the carbon fullerene, enabling it to maintain a significant distance between two moving metal parts. In addition, it is made up of many layers of balls, rather like an onion, so that if the top layer wears away, those underneath continue to maintain a lubricating action.

The Institute's technology transfer arm, 'Yeda Research and Development Co. Ltd.' has already filed patent applications for the new material, with industrial companies worldwide expressing an interest.

Must be a host of advantages in getting rid of friction?

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