SUSU Scientists Developed Innovative Lubricant for Reducing Wheel Friction on Trains

An effective rail lubricant has been proposed by scientists of the Faculty of Automotive Engineering of South Ural State University. The hybrid rail lubricant is easy to use and it can protect not only the train wheels, but also the curved part of the track and the switch from wear. The development by the SUSU researchers will be tested on the Sverdlovsk Railway.

The innovative lubricant composition, which is planned to be used on the main-line locomotives of the Sverdlovsk Railway, has been developed by scientists of South Ural State University. The researchers, Associate Professors of the Department of Automobile Transport of the Faculty of Automotive Engineering of the SUSU Institute of Engineering and Technology Igor Mukhortov and Igor Levanov were set a task of improving the process of applying lubricant to the wheel surface and proposing an effective substance.

The lubricant is used to reduce friction on wheels of railway vehicles on rails when taking a turn, and prevent shaking, energy loss, and wheel wear. However, hard samples practically do not lubricate the side parts of the wheels and the running surface of the rails, while soft samples are quickly expendable. At high sliding speed, the rough steel destroys the lubricant briquette and splashes its contents.

“The effectiveness of rail lubricant is not as important as the way it is applied on the wheel surface. Therefore, we decided to place a relatively soft and effective lubricant in a shell of hard, but non-abrasive material. The advantage of the block-type rail lubricant is not only that its effective, but it is also used widely. To create apply this lubricant, you won't need to change the structure of the rail lubricating equipment,” said Candidate of Sciences (Engineering) Igor Mukhortov.

The rail lubricant, proposed for use by the SUSU scientists, also protects the curved part of the track and the switch. However, the main estimated parameters of the development are wheelset wear and lubricant consumption. At SUSU, samples of solid-plastic lubricant with an effective component composition have been successfully tested. They were made in the Laboratory of Operation Materials and tested in the Laboratory of Triboengineering using friction machines and other auxiliary equipment. The divisions belong to the Faculty of Automotive Engineering. Experimental tests on the railroad will begin later.

The scientists of South Ural State University were involved in the process by OOO IntellRoss. The company is engaged in the manufacture of solid lubricants. In the beginning of 2020, the organisation and SUSU have concluded a collaboration agreement.

South Ural State University is a university of digital transformations, where innovative research is conducted in most of the priority fields of development of science and technology. In accordance with the strategies of research and technological development of the Russian Federation, the university is focused on the development of big scientific interdisciplinary projects in the field of digital industry, materials science, and ecology. Within the framework of these fields, objects of metallurgy, mechanical engineering, power industry, housing and communal services, safe urban infrastructure, and human comfort are being studied.

SUSU is the participant of Project 5-100, which is aimed to enhance the competitiveness of Russian universities among the leading research and education centres.

Daria Tsymbaliuk, photo from
You are reporting a typo in the following text:
Simply click the "Send typo report" button to complete the report. You can also include a comment.