Room temperature ionic liquids (RTILs) have several properties that make them interesting candidates as base fluids for extreme conditions. However, a lack of compatibility with tribo-improving additives combined with an often overly aggressive nature is limiting their use as base fluids. To overcome these drawbacks, hydrocarbon-imitating RTIL base fluids have recently been developed. In this study, the effects of several common additives in the novel RTIL (P-SiSO) were examined by laboratory tribotesting. A reciprocating steel-steel ball-on-flat setup in an air atmosphere was used, where the lubricant performance was evaluated over a range of loads and temperatures. Surface analyses after testing were carried out using optical profilometry, scanning electron microscopy (SEM), and energy dispersive X-ray spectroscopy (EDS). Neat P-SiSO displayed high performance in the tribotests. At an elevated load and temperature, a shift in lubrication mode was observed with an accompanying increase in friction and wear. Surface analysis revealed a boundary film rich in Si and O in the primary lubrication mode, while P was detected after a shift to the secondary lubrication mode. An amine additive was effective in reducing wear and friction under harsh conditions. The amine was determined to increase formation of the protective Si–O film, presumably by enhancing the anion activity.
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