Many people don’t realize that an internal combustion engine’s crankcase is a chemical sewer. It is alternately hot, cold, bathed in combustion gases, soot, metallic wear debris and abrasive grit from the air the engine inhales. It is diluted with fuel and condensed water and an occasional (often catastrophic) dose of ethylene glycol from head gasket leaks.

Most people also don’t realize that an engine is not lubricated by oil alone. What it is lubricated with is far from simple. Complex populations of particles start collecting after an oil change and increase with time. By definition, and with microscopic examination showing Brownian movement, these are shown to be colloids. Since working oils are loaded with colloids as the result of normal use, it makes sense to use colloids towards creating a better lubrication.

PTFE has many desirable characteristics and has been instrumental in using colloids in lubrication. PTFE stands for Polytetrafluoroethylene, which is a synthetic fluoropolymer. Water and water-containing substances do not wet PTFE; therefore, adhesion to PTFE surfaces is inhibited. It is very non-reactive, and so is often used in containers and pipework for reactive and corrosive chemicals. When used as a lubricant, PTFE can reduce friction, wear, and energy consumption of machinery.

PTFE colloids, well known for their low friction, have at first glance, great appeal as oil additives. However, the fact that PTFE colloids don’t like water or oil has made their use in that application far from simple. PTFE cannot just be stirred into an oil to make a satisfactory lubricant. The dispersion chemistry and additives used must be chosen with great care and the dispersion technique is extremely important. Powerful synergistic interactions exist with some additives. When properly done, extraordinary lubricants result and a new class of lubricants with remarkable low friction and wear has been accomplished. Four-ball tests show low wear and a coefficient of friction as low as .029 for a fully formulated lubricant based on this technology.

Variations in Stability

When proper dispersion methods are not used with PTFE, separation of oil and particles, clumping, and settling occur. In some cases, the particles form spheroids that can’t get between tight-fitting working surfaces, plus are rapidly removed from the oil by conventional automotive filters.

Demonstrates Colloid Stability

When PTFE is properly dispersed in engine oil, there is no tendency for particles to form clumps, and sedimentation is very slow (years) and, even then, redispersion is easy. Superior lubricants with remarkable properties can be formulated using the techniques that produce this type of dispersion.

Laboratory work using the 4-ball test has shown that these lubricants, used both as concentrates and as additives to other lubricants, have extraordinarily low friction and wear. Engine tests in the U.S., Australia, Israel, the Netherlands, and Canada have confirmed that laboratory results correlate closely with the performance of machines in actual practice.

Benefits of PTFE Technology

Using the right colloidal chemistry to disperse PTFE provides added benefits beyond low friction and wear. Lubricants utilizing PTFE colloids may also:

  • Provide increased horsepower
  • Improve efficiency
  • Decrease wear and tear on engines and moving parts
  • Extend time between rebuilds
  • Provide protection through rust inhibitors
  • Improve boundary films

Another added, but unexpected, benefit is a cleaner internal engine. Properly formulated, colloidal chemistries keep unwanted particles and sludge in suspension, allowing filters to sift them out.

Using a properly engineered oil additive is imperative. While many brands claim to improve engine performance, most have not achieved the proper suspension of PTFE in order to provide desired benefits. Tufoil for Engines, by Fluoramics, was engineered only after many years in the laboratory in order to successfully suspend colloids. That’s why Tufoil for Engines is still a successful product in the marketplace while other oil additives have failed.