VI. BENEFITS OF REDUCING FRICTION AND
As stated previously, developing and implementing new technologies to reduce friction and wear
could save the U.S. economy as much as $120 billion per year. This includes energy savings,
repair and replacement costs, and downtime.
Within the transportation sector alone, potential fuel savings due to reducing friction could be as
large as 830 million barrels of oil per year, which amounts to about $15 billion per year at the
current price of crude oil.
Reducing fuel consumption will have a directly proportional benefit on reducing emissions from
vehicles. In addition, new technologies for reducing friction and wear also are needed to meet
forthcoming standards for diesel exhaust emissions. The dollar value of the health benefits,
which obviously cannot be quantified, has not been included in the above figures, but the
obvious potential beneficial effect on the nation's quality of life qualifies as a major driver for an
aggressive research agenda.
In addition to the direct economic benefit to truckers, automobile owners, and railroad operators
of lower fuel bills, reducing friction and wear will have important economic benefits associated
with reduced downtime and lower costs for repair and replacement of worn parts.
Safety of vehicles also will be enhanced by making the components more durable. Two major
causes of derailments of trains wheel climb due to friction between the flange and the rail, and
bearing failure can be mitigated by reducing friction.
Advances in the basic understanding of friction and wear, along with the development of specific
remedial measures, also will be beneficial to a broad range of industries well beyond the
transportation sector, extending even into the area of military preparedness.
Friction, wear, and lubrication are important considerations in virtually every approach to
reducing energy consumption and emissions, as described in the OHVT Technology roadmap.
Development of enabling technologies for Class 7 and 8 trucks to achieve a fuel efficiency of
10 mpg without sacrificing air quality will require the following:
To develop a 55% efficient engine, a 1% or more efficiency increase is expected from
reductions in engine mechanical friction, and increased cylinder pressures will require
improved friction control and piston/ring lubrication.
To reduce mechanical losses in transmissions and axles and parasitic losses in shaft-
driven auxiliaries by 25%, new cost-effective coatings, materials, or designs will be
To meet federal and state emission requirements, soot and acid loading from EGR will
require improved lubricants or coatings, and lubricant formulations without sulfur and