Viscosity modifiers for lubricants



Automation, Mobility and Aerospace | Chemistry and Materials

The Technology

Lubricants are crucial to the reduction of erosion and energy loss in systems that include moving surfaces. Two basic requirements for lubricants, viscosity and viscosity-temperature response, are achieved by adding polymers known as viscosity modifiers (VMs). During service, the lubricant’s viscosity decreases due to mechanochemically-induced fragmentation of the macromolecules.
Folding the linear polymers into single chain polymer nanoparticles (SCPN) hinders the macromolecule’s fragmentation, leading to retention of the lubricant’s viscosity properties. Mechanochemical scission in the folded polymer gradually unfolds it, causing the polymer to gain hydrodynamic size and, as a result, these lubricants display permanent viscosity gain.
Unlike the VMs in use today, the SCPN based VMs can be prepared with longer chain lengths and therefore higher viscosity indexes. Hence, shear stable VMs with higher degrees of polymerization can be made, to achieve improved lubricating performance at lower additive concentrations. Slightly larger SCPN macromolecules are needed to achieve the same thickening efficiency and viscosity index of their linear congeners. Further, the SCPN VMs solutions have a unique viscosity-shear behavior, unprecedently showing an initial increase in their viscosity in response to shear.


  • Longer working life of materials with additive polymers
  • Allows less viscosity management additives

Applications and Opportunities

  • Oils and lubricants
arrow Business Development Contacts
Shikma Litmanovitz
Director of Business Development, Physical Science