The lubricating oil and grease industry keep the wheels of industry well- oiled. This industry segment is expected to produce about 60.5 million barrels of lubricants in 2010. The U.S. uses about two-thirds of this amount. The industry as a whole is expected to generate revenue of about $13.24 billion in 2010. IL-based lubricants promise to meet needs in areas such as low-temperature engineering fluids and specialized automotive and aerospace machinery. Because of their conductive nature, these lubricants have potential for uses in the electronics industry. Large-scale industrial applications such as metal machining and refinement are of significant interest. The products can also be added to conventional mineral lubrication oils to increase wear resistance.
Future NASA missions will require robotic systems that operate remotely. These systems will be critical in preparing site infrastructure for surface operations. Current liquid lubricant systems are unsuitable for harsh conditions because of problems such as volatility, deterioration in vacuum, and freeze-up in ultra-low temperatures. In this SBIR project, ISL will meet NASA's need for lubricants for advanced robotic systems and planetary surface assets.