Researchers (Shariatzadeh and Grecov) at the University of British Columbia in Canada recently published a paper on the use of Cellulose Nanocrystals (CNCs) in water-based lubricants.
Their research showed that optimum results were achieved with only 2% CNCs. At this concentration, the coefficient of friction decreased by 30% compared to that of water alone and that the amount of wear of the steel shaft decreased by 50%. It is postulated that the observed improvement is due to the high strength and the alignment of the crystals. In addition to the improved lubricity, CNCs are fully natural, biodegradable and thermally stable. It means we could soon see water-based lubricants that are greener and more efficient.