Molecularly defined lubricant hydrocarbons from olefin metathesis

08 September 2023, Version 2
This content is a preprint and has not undergone peer review at the time of posting.


Hydrocarbon-based lubricants are ubiquitous in industrial applications but are typically complex mixtures of branched molecules that are challenging to characterize and to relate to their macroscopic properties. Consequently, lubricants are typically optimized empirically for specific applications by blending base oils and organic or inorganic additives. Here, we report the synthesis and characterization of molecularly defined lubricants via metathesis of branched terminal olefins followed by hydrogenation of the internal olefin products. The resulting saturated hydrocarbons are characterized by ultra-high-field (28.2 T) 1H and 13C NMR spectroscopies to establish their molecular structures and resolve different stereoisomers, showing the utility of state-of-the-art spectroscopic tools for resolving structures of branched alkanes. Furthermore, the molecular-level diffusion and bulk viscosity properties compare favorably to classical synthetic lubricants based on hydrogenated polyalphaolefin blends, establishing olefin metathesis as a selective and scalable route to high-performance lubricant oils with defined molecular structures.


Olefin metathesis

Supplementary materials

Supporting information
Experimental details, characterization data for all compounds, and additional results and analyses.


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