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Tell us about a new lubricant, coating, or material to reduce friction
Challenge Type: math & sciences
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top 50%
90 months

Evonik is the market and technology leader in high-performance additives to optimize the lubricating and flow properties of engine oils, hydraulic fluids, fuels, biodiesel and industrial fluids. Our additives improve fuel efficiency, i.e. they reduce fuel consumption and CO2 emissions. At the same time, they increase the reliability and service life of engines and hydraulic systems, especially in the automotive, construction and transportation industries. This business is driven by the resource efficiency trend and by the dynamic economic development of emerging markets.

Lubricants reduce friction between moving metal components, such as those found in a vehicle’s engine, transmission, and axles. Evonik envisions use of our VISCOPLEX® and VISCOBASE® polymers and future additives in developing “Smart fluids" with special flow, friction, wear and lubricant profiles or with controlled release mechanisms. However, friction and wear can also be reduced by improving the solid surfaces on these moving parts.

In addition to the development of next generation lubricant systems based on additives, there are trends toward developing new surface coatings with extraordinary tribological effects. In parallel, with the use of more lightweight materials, there is a need to exploit new materials in wear applications e.g. high performance plastics instead of metal parts. The synergies that come from the combinations of new additives, new surface layers and new part materials will be a focus for our future lubrication systems.

Your challenge is to provide an innovative idea (not already patented or published) for the lubricated system (material, tribological surface, lubricant, additive) which provides significantly reduced or zero friction and improved part durability.


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1. Propose any idea that contributes to improved fuel efficiency, increased lifetime and reduced wear (in engines, transmissions, future drive train concepts, anywhere!) by means of:

- An advanced lubricant

- Lubricant additive

- New surface coating

- New material of torque transferring parts.

- Another idea of your choosing

2. (Optional) Propose an experimental plan to demonstrate the efficiency of your idea.

3. (Optional) Submit a concept diagram and a schematic as supporting materials as a .doc, .docx, or .PDF

Bonus 1: Provide more than one of or an entire system of advanced lubricants, lubricant additives, new surface coatings, or new material of torque transferring parts.

Bonus 2: Provide your thoughts or a proposal on innovative ways to bring your ideas to the world such as new marketing schemes or business models to bring your system to consumers.

Things to consider:

- ”Optional” We would love for all participants to complete the “optional” deliverables but are open to new ideas from students in short formats.

- Scaling up: Winning solutions should be easy to implement in large scale manufacturing.

- New concepts please... We’re looking for brand new ideas and avenues to explore, if it is patented or published, skip it.

- Please see the additional terms and conditions for this challenge under "Additional Materials" below.

    Submissions will be graded on the following criteria:
  • Meets Deliverables
  • Creativity
  • Clarity
Additional Materials:
Reward Tiers
Top 10%
will share $1,000
Next 15%
will share $400
Next 25%
will share $200
Actual individual rewards will be based on the total number of eligible solutions.
$250.00 Jesse Lu University of California at San Diego
$250.00 Pablo Enrique University of Waterloo
$250.00 Dallas DeBruin University of Dayton
$250.00 Zachary Woodward South Dakota State University
$80.00 Sophia T McMaster University
$80.00 Ansh Tayal National Institute of Technology Trichy
$80.00 brandon wakil University of Central Florida
$80.00 Oscar Wong University of Illinois
$80.00 Katrina tate Georgia Southern University
$22.20 Timothy Charlton New York University
$22.20 Jan Mees University of Utah
$22.20 A Vidyesh Rao
$22.20 ashwin sancheti University of Akron
$22.20 Tarun Jha University of Florida
$22.20 Archit Nandi University of Florida
$22.20 Jessica Li New York University
$22.20 Randall Simonson Minnesota State University, Mankato
$22.20 Ayush Ranjan University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign
Submission questions

0 characters Average: 1696 characters
Your solution must be at least 200 characters long