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UA and ASU Partner With Hytrol on Industrial Lubricant Project

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Researchers from the University of Arkansas and Arkansas State University have partnered with Hytrol Conveyor Co. of Jonesboro on a project to develop lubricant coatings that reduce friction and improve efficiency in industrial conveyor systems.

The research team, led by UA professor of mechanical engineering Min Zou, has received a $550,000 grant from the National Science Foundation for the project.

The team aims to develop novel graphite coatings that will significantly reduce energy consumption and equipment failure in conveyor systems, the U of A said in a news release. The technology is based on a unique, patented bonding approach in which graphite coatings adhere tightly to a substrate material.

Belt conveyors account for about a quarter of the $7.65 billion global conveyor market. Beyond that market, the research will deepen a fundamental understanding of the novel coating technology to enable applications in other fields, which could lead to significant savings in many U.S. industries.

Ty Keller, Hytrol’s manager of product innovation, and Boyce Bonham, Hytrol’s chief engineer, will serve as co-principal investigators on the project.

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