The EXTENT TO WHICH SURFACE ACTIVITY IS important in lubrication has been assessed differently at various times by research workers. At one time the “oiliness” of a lubricant was attributed by physical chemists to the adsorption of polar molecules on the surfaces undergoing lubrication. Recent workers have tended to discount the importance of such physical adsorption and to stress the existence of chemical reactions which lead to products having a beneficial effect and to which lubrication activity is attributable. It is therefore of some interest to consider what is the present viewpoint, taking as a source of information the series of extremely interesting papers presented in London during the week beginning on the 8th April, 1957.
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