Had anyone tried to use vast accumulated knowledge about lubes, EP/AW additives and tried to formulated the ultimate bike lube?
Here is my take:
First, if you are using your bike somewhere else than sparkling clean tarmac - forget about wet lubes.
I've an amateur, but rather dedicated cyclist, my yearly average is about 10 000 kilometers.
Year before I've been using a host of recommended lubes, including Finish Line ceramic wet and Chain-L, highly recommended chain oil on MTBR. I usually only lube after cleaning the chain off-bike in a bottle of solvent.
Lifetime of chains until 1% 'elongation' - about 2k kilometres, give or take. I cycle about 50/50 tarmac (not exactly clean) and dusty cross-country trails.
in 2015 I've made a switch to paraffin after getting an RWD recumbent and reading about good experience with it on Bentrider and Velonews article, that called paraffin 'the fastest lube'.http://velonews.competitor.com/2013/02/b...what-now_274534
While I cannot verify the 'efficiency' claims, this year I've cycled about 6.5k on two KMC x10.93 chains (same as those I've been using last year, both them 'in bulk'), rotating them at equal internals.
No solvent washing, no careful lubing - only dunk into liquid paraffin, agitate, remove, cool, on the bike it goes.
Nether chain is even remotely close to 0.75 mark on my chain wear indicator (pretty good one despite being cheap - 'bike hand').
It is not surprising for road chains used in very clean condition to see thousands of miles of use before critical wear, same with MTB chains that are cleaned VERY meticulously before each lube (but it requires way too much hassle), btw.
So, paraffin DOES work and I'm am a convert. However, I am aware that typical 'household' paraffin is a marginal lubricant indeed - once it cools it is brittle, does not stick to metal very well, hence only stays inside the pin/roller interface for a reasonable time (and only as a very fine film). Pretty soon after application it begins to rattle a bit - it is not a high-pitched noise of metal-on-metal friction, but links hitting chain teeth with no oil damping the impact. It does little else than make cycling easier on the ears, though.
If you cycle in the rain on a paraffin-lubed chain even for a relatively short time, it would start to rust and squick pretty quickly.
By the way, applying a solution of wax as most 'dry' lubes is NOT a good idea, because lubing it on the bike would drive the surface dirt into the rollers and trap it there, negating all the benefits of paraffin. This is why, I guess, 'dry lubes' are not as good as pure paraffin 'hot bath'.
So, I'm trying to formulate a bike lube that would combine the cleanness of dry paraffin lube and lubrication/rust inhibition of wet lubes.
Such thing actually exists, it is called Kluber SK11-299, 'a lubricating wax based on wax-like hydrocarbons and a synthetic hydrocarbon oil. It protects reliably against wear, shows excellent adhesion and is extremely resistant to water, thus providing excellent corrosion protection also when in contact with water. Once applied to the component surface, the lubricant leaves a “quasi-dry” non-tacky lubricant film.'
They are claiming as far as !'lifetime'! duration of their lube on the chain (in case of 'non-extreme conditions').
Unfortunately, this seems to be sold only in industrial quantities and corporate clients, and I don't feel like opening a business of buying it and relabelling it as an 'ultimate bike chain lube', heh.
So, I've decided to replicate, or even improve it.
What I've found so far:
After reading about 'a mix of hydrocarbon waxes', I've begun reading what kinds of paraffins are there. Well, it seems there is a very interesting type of paraffin wax called 'micro-crystalline' wax that, while having higher meltpoint, is tackier and more pliable than 'regular' paraffin, and adding some to the mix would very favourably alter the physical properties of regular, cheap&plentiful variety. It is relatively expensive and not that easy to obtain, but doable.
Next, 'synthetic oil'. Well, likely some sort of cheaper, higher-refined mineral oil that is usual called 'synthetic' nowadays. I highly doubt that it has any 'esters' in it.
But after learning about strange and wonderful world of natural and synthetic esters, I've began to research them further, and stumbled first upon the article about esters in lubrication, than this forum, where I've learned more than I hoped for, including how 'hydrodynamic' and 'boundary' lubrication works, trilogy articles about 'EP/AW' additives, their synergistic effects and limitations, etc.
That got me thinking again, mainly:
1. Due to high-load (relatively to their size)/low speed of bike chains, they are, very likely, NOT hydro-dynamically lubricated. The fact that bike lube immediately turns black with metal particles also 'hints' it.
2. Would EP/AW oil additives work in conditions that chain runs in? It is not a hot motor or gearbox, and most EP/AW additives are activated by temperature.
MoS additves do sound nice, but are very sensitive to presence of water as I've read. Ceramic nanoparticles seems promising, but would they 'work' in bike chain environment? There are bike lubes with that stuff, but due to total lack of any laboratory wear tests I know about - their presence might be only good for marketing purposes.
And, most importantly, all that must work when suspended in hardened mixture of paraffin waxes, with no renewable supply of additives from an oil bath - because otherwise liquid oil will trap sand and dust, it would get sucked into the rollers and no amount of AP/EW additives would outweigh the resulting silicon dioxide grinding paste.
So, if anyone can recommend readily obtainable additives that might work in such conditions - I'd be very glad to hear about it.