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Opportunity at National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST)

Physical and Chemical Properties of Lubricants


Material Measurement Laboratory, Applied Chemicals and Materials Division

RO# Location
50.64.72.B4392 Boulder, CO

Please note: This Agency only participates in the February and August reviews.


Name E-mail Phone
Bruno, Thomas Joseph 303.497.5158


Modern lubricants are complex mixtures that are designed to control the friction between surfaces that are in mutual motion or incipient mutual motion. Lubricated surfaces in contact (called lubricated couples) are everywhere. They are found in nearly all industrial settings, consumer settings, and in military hardware. The performance of lubricated couples is critical to the mission success of military hardware in marine and aeronautical settings. We have extensive experience in both lubricated friction and wear measurements, and in chemical and physicochemical characterization measurements on lubricants. We have a tribometer capable of operating from the elastohydrodynamic regime to the boundary lubrication regime. After a friction measurement, lubricant integrity is examined by gas chromatography-mass spectrometry-infrared spectroscopy, liquid chromatography, and other analytical techniques. This allows us to correlate friction and wear with lubricant vigor. We also make physicochemical property measurements on lubricants. This always requires a chemical analysis of the lubricant, so that the mixture is well characterized. Currently, we are measuring the vapor pressures of a family of low-vapor pressure lubricants that are used with alternative refrigerants. We have a new instrument that is capable of measuring the vapor/liquid equilibrium of lubricant/refrigerant systems in a noninvasive way (without sample withdrawal). Moreover, we have recently introduced the advanced distillation curve method to analytically characterize both virgin and waste lubricants. This diverse research program can provide opportunities for research in tribometry, analytical instrumentation and method development, and in property measurement.


Lubricant chemical analysis; Lubricant physical properties; Tribology;


Citizenship:  Open to U.S. citizens
Level:  Open to Postdoctoral applicants
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