Presented in this study is a new class of “greener” lubricants, room temperature ionic liquids, that represent a promising potential solution to many of the problems associated with both conventional lubricants and those based on natural oils. In this study, friction and wear tests were carried out using a pin-on-disk tribometer under ambient conditions to characterize the performance of the ionic liquids as lubricants. Specifically, ionic liquids consisting of salicylate, benzoate (common food additives) and saccharinate (an artificial sweetener) anions with conventional phosponium cations were evaluated as lubricants and compared to petroleum-based lubricants and natural oils in regards to structure and performance. The ionic liquids generally demonstrated better tribological performance than either the petroleum-based lubricants or natural oils. The mechanisms governing the chemical composition and improved tribological performance are discussed while highlighting possible industrial applications of this new class of lubricants.

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