PRIORITIES, GOALS, AND BARRIERS
It is interesting and comforting to note that a number of common themes emerged in several of
the working groups, independent of the technical bias of the group. These themes involved the
development of several classes of enabling technologies that could form the foundation upon
which companies, individually or in consortia, could develop new products and techniques for
significantly reducing energy consumption in transportation, as well as promoting emission
reduction, and achieving durability and reliability of vehicles, profitability of freight
transportation, and safety. The following paragraphs describe some of those common themes.
Quantitative understanding of failure mechanisms.
A quantitative understanding of failure mechanisms such as wear, scuffing, and fatigue is
essential for the development of both computational design codes to mitigate (and possibly
avoid) those problems and bench-top tests to predict full-scale behavior. This will require
combining the results of basic research into those mechanisms, applied research into how those
mechanisms are manifest in an engine or drive train, testing to develop correlations between
fundamental properties and component behavior, and analytical and computational approaches to
codify the understanding.
Bench-top tests that are predictive of full-scale behavior.
While a quantitative understanding of the various failure mechanisms would be extremely
helpful in designing bench-top tests, in the meantime it should be possible to develop better
correlations between lab behavior and full-scale behavior by taking greater care to duplicate in
the laboratory the essential conditions that prevail in an operating engine or drive train.
Variety of affordable surface-modification technologies that would be suitable for various
components (gears, bearings, piston rings, cylinder bores, valve-train components, fuel
injectors, railroad rails, railroad wheels, etc.) in various fuels or lubricants, and under
various operating conditions.
For many situations in which stresses, temperatures, or environments are becoming more severe,
current bulk materials have reached, or soon will reach, their performance limits, and surface
modification remains the only viable alternative for additional improvements. Surface-
modification techniques for consideration include various coatings, thermal treatments (perhaps
by lasers), ion implantation methods, and texturing or smoothing.
It is unlikely that any single surface-modification technique will be suitable for all applications.
Therefore, a variety of techniques or coatings need to be characterized and, perhaps, further
Better understanding of the chemistry of lubricants and how additives affect their
interactions with rubbing surfaces.
Formulation of additive packages is largely empirical. A more scientific understanding of the
role of additives would form the foundation for developing new lubricants that will be longer
lasting, environmentally friendly, capable of handling increased soot loadings for EGR,