The amount of energy that can be gained from the wind is unlimited, unlike current energy sources such as fossil and coal. While there is an important push in the use of wind energy, gears and bearing components of the turbines often fail due to contact fatigue, causing costly repairs and downtime. The objective of this work is to investigate the potential tribological benefits of two phosphonium-based ionic liquids (ILs) as additives to a synthetic lubricant without additives and to a fully formulated and commercially available wind turbine oil. In this work, AISI 52100 steel disks were tested in a ball-on-flat reciprocating tribometer against AISI 440C steel balls. Surface finish also affects the tribological properties of gear surfaces. In order to understand the combined effect of using the ILs with surface finish, two surface finishes were also used in this study. Adding ILs to the commercial available or synthetic lubricant reduced the wear scar diameter for both surface finishes. This decrease was particularly important for trihexyltetradecylphosphonium bis(trifluoromethylsulfonyl) amide, where a wear reduction of the steel disk around 20% and 23% is reached when 5 wt % of this IL is added to the commercially available lubricant and to the synthetic lubricant without additives, respectively.
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