Researchers at Germany's Fraunhofer Institute for Applied Polymer Research have made a rather amazing discovery that may have major automotive applications withing the next three to five years, according to the scientists working on the project. It seems that liquid crystals, common in LCD displays and most notably on computers and televisions, can actually outperform their petroleum-based competition by "orders of magnitude" when compared directly against each other in automotive-style applications, such as the lubricants that keep our engines running smoothly. To test the various liquid crystals and petroleum-based oils, the researchers created an innovative test rig that simulates the types of loads common on engine crankshafts. Nearly all regular automotive-grade oils performed similarly, and not nearly as well as the new liquid crystal lubricants being tested. Interestingly, even "less pure" crystals will work just fine as lubricants, though these same gels don't function properly for displays.
[Source: TG Daily