Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Research Improves Dry Lubricant Used in Machinery and Biomedical Devices

22.05.2013
Silica nanoparticles help reduce wear and friction

Nearly everyone is familiar with the polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE), otherwise known as Teflon, the brand name used by the chemical company DuPont. Famous for being “non-sticky” and water repellent, PTFE is a dry lubricant used on machine components everywhere, from kitchen tools and engine cylinders to space and biomedical applications.

Recently, engineering researchers at the University of Arkansas found a way to make the polymer even less adhesive. They treated thin films of PTFD with silica nanoparticles and found that the lubricating material significantly reduced wear of the polymer while maintaining a low level of friction. The researchers’ work will enable machinery to last longer and operate more efficiently.

“Polytetrafluoroethylene is a big, scary word,” said. Min Zou, an associate professor of mechanical engineering. “What we’re talking about here is a material layer or coating – a film – that essentially does not stick and is hydrophobic, meaning it repels water.”

Solid lubricants such as PTFE are appealing because they perform well in high temperatures, have low maintenance costs and are clean compared to liquids. They are essential in an industrial setting, where the surfaces of various mechanical parts are constantly coming into contact with each other.

PTFE compares favorably to other solid lubricant materials because of its self-lubricating properties, its ability to produce low friction and its resistance to high temperatures and chemicals. It has been used as a lubrication polymer for many years, and recently scientists and engineers have attempted to improve the material by incorporating nanoparticle “fillers” that reduce wear on the material and thus extend its life. However, high concentrations of these nano-fillers have created a problem: while reducing wear, they have also increased the material’s ability to create friction.

“A great obstacle in micro- and nanocomposite films has been the inability to find a filler material that provides good wear resistance as well as a low coefficient of friction,” Zou said.

But that’s exactly what Zou found in silica. After integrating the nanoparticle material into PTFE in two different concentrations, she and her graduate student Samuel Beckford applied the thin films to a stainless steel substrate. They subjected the films to abrasive tests to measure the degree of friction and wear resistance. For comparison, they did the same experiments on a pure PTFE film and on bare stainless steel. Andrew Wang with Ocean NanoTech, a local technology firm, helped with size characterization of the nanoparticles.

“Micrographs revealed that the composite films with higher concentration of silica had much narrower wear tracks after the samples were subjected to rubbing tests,” Zou said.

The study was published in Tribology Transactions, a journal of the Society of Tribologists and Lubrication Engineers (STLE), and received the STLE Al Sonntag Award for the best paper published on solid lubricants.

Zou is holder of the 21st Century Professorship in Mechanical Engineering.

CONTACTS:
Min Zou, associate professor, mechanical engineering
College of Engineering
479-575-6671, mzou@uark.edu
Matt McGowan, science and research communications officer
University Relations
479-575-4246, dmcgowa@uark.edu
Follow University of Arkansas research on Twitter @UArkResearch

Matt McGowan | Newswise
Further information:
http://www.uark.edu

More articles from Materials Sciences:

nachricht Rice U. chemists create 3-D printed graphene foam
22.06.2017 | Rice University

nachricht Development of low-dimensional nanomaterials could revolutionize future technologies
19.06.2017 | DOE/Ames Laboratory

All articles from Materials Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Climate satellite: Tracking methane with robust laser technology

Heatwaves in the Arctic, longer periods of vegetation in Europe, severe floods in West Africa – starting in 2021, scientists want to explore the emissions of the greenhouse gas methane with the German-French satellite MERLIN. This is made possible by a new robust laser system of the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT in Aachen, which achieves unprecedented measurement accuracy.

Methane is primarily the result of the decomposition of organic matter. The gas has a 25 times greater warming potential than carbon dioxide, but is not as...

Im Focus: How protons move through a fuel cell

Hydrogen is regarded as the energy source of the future: It is produced with solar power and can be used to generate heat and electricity in fuel cells. Empa researchers have now succeeded in decoding the movement of hydrogen ions in crystals – a key step towards more efficient energy conversion in the hydrogen industry of tomorrow.

As charge carriers, electrons and ions play the leading role in electrochemical energy storage devices and converters such as batteries and fuel cells. Proton...

Im Focus: A unique data centre for cosmological simulations

Scientists from the Excellence Cluster Universe at the Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität Munich have establised "Cosmowebportal", a unique data centre for cosmological simulations located at the Leibniz Supercomputing Centre (LRZ) of the Bavarian Academy of Sciences. The complete results of a series of large hydrodynamical cosmological simulations are available, with data volumes typically exceeding several hundred terabytes. Scientists worldwide can interactively explore these complex simulations via a web interface and directly access the results.

With current telescopes, scientists can observe our Universe’s galaxies and galaxy clusters and their distribution along an invisible cosmic web. From the...

Im Focus: Scientists develop molecular thermometer for contactless measurement using infrared light

Temperature measurements possible even on the smallest scale / Molecular ruby for use in material sciences, biology, and medicine

Chemists at Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz (JGU) in cooperation with researchers of the German Federal Institute for Materials Research and Testing (BAM)...

Im Focus: Optoelectronic Inline Measurement – Accurate to the Nanometer

Germany counts high-precision manufacturing processes among its advantages as a location. It’s not just the aerospace and automotive industries that require almost waste-free, high-precision manufacturing to provide an efficient way of testing the shape and orientation tolerances of products. Since current inline measurement technology not yet provides the required accuracy, the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT is collaborating with four renowned industry partners in the INSPIRE project to develop inline sensors with a new accuracy class. Funded by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF), the project is scheduled to run until the end of 2019.

New Manufacturing Technologies for New Products

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Plants are networkers

19.06.2017 | Event News

Digital Survival Training for Executives

13.06.2017 | Event News

Global Learning Council Summit 2017

13.06.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Innovative LED High Power Light Source for UV

22.06.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Mathematical confirmation: Rewiring financial networks reduces systemic risk

22.06.2017 | Business and Finance

Spin liquids − back to the roots

22.06.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>