Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:


New material lubricates itself


A highly durable and moreover self-lubricating material has seen the light of day at a thin film laboratory at Linköping University.

It is an alloy of boron suboxide and yttrium, BOY, and was grown by the physicist Denis Music. The discovery is put forward in his doctoral dissertation.

The element boron and its compounds have many interesting properties, but they have been difficult to exploit industrially because production involves extreme process conditions. To produce a crystal of boron suboxide requires a temperature of 2000 degrees and extremely high pressure. Denis Music solved the problem by adding the metal yttrium, and, using thin film technology, managed to create a crystalline surface layer of the materal at a mere 300-400 degrees.

The new material can be used in bearings and machine components of various kinds, especially in moist environments. When boron is exposed to water, boric acid is produced, forming a lubricating layer on the surface. This is of interest to the manufacturing industry, which is striving to limit the use of oils and cutting lubricants that are hazardous to health and the environment. Furthermore, BOY, unlike other boron alloys, conducts electricity.

Denis Music has worked with both computer simulations and laboratory experiments. Of some 30 metals tested in simulations, yttrium seemed to be the most promising. When it was tested in the lab, it proved to work.

“The combination of experimental work and simulations is becoming more and more central to materials research,” says Ulf Helmersson, professor of thin film physics and Denis Music’s thesis director.

The method used in the experiments is called ‘sputtering’ and is carried out in a vacuum chamber. When a powdered mixture of boron and yttrium is exposed to bombardment by energy-rich ions, single atoms are cast off and condense on a substrate. The result is a film that grows thicker as the process proceeds.

The material now has a patent pending, and the next step will be to further test its mechanical properties.

Dennis Music | alfa
Further information:

More articles from Materials Sciences:

nachricht Researchers demonstrate existence of new form of electronic matter
15.03.2018 | University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

nachricht Boron can form a purely honeycomb, graphene-like 2-D structure
15.03.2018 | Science China Press

All articles from Materials Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Locomotion control with photopigments

Researchers from Göttingen University discover additional function of opsins

Animal photoreceptors capture light with photopigments. Researchers from the University of Göttingen have now discovered that these photopigments fulfill an...

Im Focus: Surveying the Arctic: Tracking down carbon particles

Researchers embark on aerial campaign over Northeast Greenland

On 15 March, the AWI research aeroplane Polar 5 will depart for Greenland. Concentrating on the furthest northeast region of the island, an international team...

Im Focus: Unique Insights into the Antarctic Ice Shelf System

Data collected on ocean-ice interactions in the little-researched regions of the far south

The world’s second-largest ice shelf was the destination for a Polarstern expedition that ended in Punta Arenas, Chile on 14th March 2018. Oceanographers from...

Im Focus: ILA 2018: Laser alternative to hexavalent chromium coating

At the 2018 ILA Berlin Air Show from April 25–29, the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT is showcasing extreme high-speed Laser Material Deposition (EHLA): A video documents how for metal components that are highly loaded, EHLA has already proved itself as an alternative to hard chrome plating, which is now allowed only under special conditions.

When the EU restricted the use of hexavalent chromium compounds to special applications requiring authorization, the move prompted a rethink in the surface...

Im Focus: Radar for navigation support from autonomous flying drones

At the ILA Berlin, hall 4, booth 202, Fraunhofer FHR will present two radar sensors for navigation support of drones. The sensors are valuable components in the implementation of autonomous flying drones: they function as obstacle detectors to prevent collisions. Radar sensors also operate reliably in restricted visibility, e.g. in foggy or dusty conditions. Due to their ability to measure distances with high precision, the radar sensors can also be used as altimeters when other sources of information such as barometers or GPS are not available or cannot operate optimally.

Drones play an increasingly important role in the area of logistics and services. Well-known logistic companies place great hope in these compact, aerial...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>



Industry & Economy
Event News

Ultrafast Wireless and Chip Design at the DATE Conference in Dresden

16.03.2018 | Event News

International Tinnitus Conference of the Tinnitus Research Initiative in Regensburg

13.03.2018 | Event News

International Virtual Reality Conference “IEEE VR 2018” comes to Reutlingen, Germany

08.03.2018 | Event News

Latest News

Wandering greenhouse gas

16.03.2018 | Earth Sciences

'Frequency combs' ID chemicals within the mid-infrared spectral region

16.03.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

Biologists unravel another mystery of what makes DNA go 'loopy'

16.03.2018 | Life Sciences

Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>