Active control of lubricant temperature in individual bearings


Active control of lubricant temperature in individual bearings


Most electromechanical systems consist of multiple oil-lubricated bearings that typically operate under changing and different static or dynamic conditions, such as different loads, speeds and temperatures. However, a single lubricant circuit is most often used in such multi-bearing systems and machinery, disregarding potentially different operating conditions.

As such, the system performs suboptimal as the performance of each individual bearing is per definition suboptimal, leading globally to a higher friction and energy consumption and potentially premature failure and increased maintenance costs.

In that view, ActiLub aims at studying strategies to actively control the local lubricant temperature for each individual bearing according to the specific operating conditions per bearing.

Project goals

We will explore the active steering of lubricant temperatures to adjust their thermo-mechanical properties (i.e. viscosity, density and thermal conductivity) to achieve (close to) optimal lubrication per bearing.

Today this idea is at TRL1-2 (it is known that viscosity changes with temperature), but to bring the technology to TRL4, major scientific and technological barriers need to be overcome. These barriers encompass:

  • Exploring new concepts for local temperature change in bearing systems;
  • Developing meaningful quasi-static and dynamic behavior models capturing the thermo-mechanical properties of lubricants;
  • Ensuring robust system architectures for real life application.

In short, this project will turn the lubrication circuit into an actively controlled system with sense, control and act capabilities


AcTILub_SBO is a Strategic Basic Research (SBO) project. We are looking for companies to join the User Group and work with us on the valorisation of the project.

Interested? Complete the form below and we will contact you as soon as possible.