Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:


US, Polish researchers develop technology for creation of antiwear polymer films


When Michael Furey, professor of mechanical and biomedical engineering, at Virginia Tech, met Czeslaw Kajdas, then with the Radom Technical University in Poland, at a conference in Europe in 1981, they had differing views on how to form polymer films on surfaces to reduce wear. The result of their eventual collaboration has been fundamental discoveries in surface chemistry and dozens of compounds that reduced wear in metals, advanced alloys, and ceramics. These include ashless antiwear additives for fuels, such as for diesel, jet, and two-cycle gasoline fuels; lubricants for automotive and industrial applications; and a variety of applications in which environmental concerns are important.

At the 231st American Chemical Society National Meeting in Atlanta on March 26-30, Furey will discuss the novel concept of molecular design to create additives and compounds which will reduce wear in liquid and vapor phase applications.

Tribopolymerization, developed by Furey and Kajdas, involves continuous formation of thin polymeric films on rubbing surfaces to reduce wear and surface damage. The films are self-replenishing. Specifically selected small molecules (monomers) adsorb on surfaces. Under the action of sliding contact, thin protective polymer films will form.

Furey first demonstrated the concept more than 30 years ago. At the 1981 conference, Kajdas expressed interest in Furey’s idea of surface polymerization. "For condensation-type monomers, I felt that the high surface temperatures produced by friction could initiate polymerization. Kajdas, who was interested in another class of monomers, addition-type, suggested that the emission of low-energy electrons could initiate surface polymerization," Furey recalls. "These were not competing theories, only our ideas as to what was most important for two classes of monomers."

The 1981 military crackdown in Poland sealed off the country and stalled the collaboration, but in 1986, after Kajdas had moved to the Warsaw University of Technology Institute of Chemistry at Plock, he came to Virginia Tech as a visiting professor and then returned every summer. Kajdas’ Ph.D. student, Roman Kempinski, also came to Virginia Tech as a Fulbright Scholar. The international team’s first research was funded by the U.S. Department of Energy’s Energy-Related Inventions Program, and subsequently by the National Science Foundation (NSF).

"As a result of this research, we have reached a better understanding of the fundamental process of tribopolymerization, including the action of low- energy electrons emitted from rubbing surfaces," said Furey. "With NSF funding, we were able to design, build, and use an advanced system for measuring such particles (a Ph.D. thesis by Gus Molina)."

Another result was several effective additives for reducing wear with metals, alloys, and ceramics in both liquid and vapor phase applications. These ashless compounds find uses in an enormous variety of applications. One example is a minimalist pretreatment for small engines. Putting oil in engines to test them at the factory, even when most of the oil is removed afterwards, costs thousands of dollars. Furey and Kajdas developed a lubricant that replaces 500 grams of oil with 5 grams of lubricant. It also saves the time of filling and emptying the engines with oil.

"Molecular design is a powerful approach that does not rely on the usual trial-and-error," Furey said.

Furey and Kajdas’ collaboration has resulted in many publications, presentations at scientific meetings in 12 countries, a number of Ph.D. dissertations and master’s degree theses, six patents, and the company, Tribochem International Ltd., doing business in Blacksburg, Va., and Poland. Tribochem, the Institute for Terotechnology in Radom, Poland, and the Central Laboratory of Petroleum in Warsaw recently agreed to collaborate to move the discoveries and knowledge into practical and industrial applications.

Furey will present the paper on tribochemistry and tribopolymerization (COLL 462) at 4:30 p.m., Wednesday, March 29 at the OMNI at CNN Center in the Sycamore room at the Tribology Symposium. Co-authors are Kajdas, Kempinski; Gustavo J. Molina of the School of Technology at Georgia Southern University, and Brian Vick, associate professor of mechanical engineering at Virginia Tech. Kajdas retired from the university and is now associated with the Central Laboratory of Petroleum. Kempinski is now a professor at Warsaw University of Technology Institute of Chemistry.

Susan Trulove | EurekAlert!
Further information:

More articles from Process Engineering:

nachricht Applying electron beams to 3-D objects
23.09.2016 | Fraunhofer-Institut für Organische Elektronik, Elektronenstrahl- und Plasmatechnik FEP

nachricht New process for cell transfection in high-throughput screening
21.03.2016 | Laser Zentrum Hannover e.V.

All articles from Process Engineering >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: New 3-D wiring technique brings scalable quantum computers closer to reality

Researchers from the Institute for Quantum Computing (IQC) at the University of Waterloo led the development of a new extensible wiring technique capable of controlling superconducting quantum bits, representing a significant step towards to the realization of a scalable quantum computer.

"The quantum socket is a wiring method that uses three-dimensional wires based on spring-loaded pins to address individual qubits," said Jeremy Béjanin, a PhD...

Im Focus: Scientists develop a semiconductor nanocomposite material that moves in response to light

In a paper in Scientific Reports, a research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute describes a novel light-activated phenomenon that could become the basis for applications as diverse as microscopic robotic grippers and more efficient solar cells.

A research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) has developed a revolutionary, light-activated semiconductor nanocomposite material that can be used...

Im Focus: Diamonds aren't forever: Sandia, Harvard team create first quantum computer bridge

By forcefully embedding two silicon atoms in a diamond matrix, Sandia researchers have demonstrated for the first time on a single chip all the components needed to create a quantum bridge to link quantum computers together.

"People have already built small quantum computers," says Sandia researcher Ryan Camacho. "Maybe the first useful one won't be a single giant quantum computer...

Im Focus: New Products - Highlights of COMPAMED 2016

COMPAMED has become the leading international marketplace for suppliers of medical manufacturing. The trade fair, which takes place every November and is co-located to MEDICA in Dusseldorf, has been steadily growing over the past years and shows that medical technology remains a rapidly growing market.

In 2016, the joint pavilion by the IVAM Microtechnology Network, the Product Market “High-tech for Medical Devices”, will be located in Hall 8a again and will...

Im Focus: Ultra-thin ferroelectric material for next-generation electronics

'Ferroelectric' materials can switch between different states of electrical polarization in response to an external electric field. This flexibility means they show promise for many applications, for example in electronic devices and computer memory. Current ferroelectric materials are highly valued for their thermal and chemical stability and rapid electro-mechanical responses, but creating a material that is scalable down to the tiny sizes needed for technologies like silicon-based semiconductors (Si-based CMOS) has proven challenging.

Now, Hiroshi Funakubo and co-workers at the Tokyo Institute of Technology, in collaboration with researchers across Japan, have conducted experiments to...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>



Event News

#IC2S2: When Social Science meets Computer Science - GESIS will host the IC2S2 conference 2017

14.10.2016 | Event News

Agricultural Trade Developments and Potentials in Central Asia and the South Caucasus

14.10.2016 | Event News

World Health Summit – Day Three: A Call to Action

12.10.2016 | Event News

Latest News

Resolving the mystery of preeclampsia

21.10.2016 | Health and Medicine

Stanford researchers create new special-purpose computer that may someday save us billions

21.10.2016 | Information Technology

From ancient fossils to future cars

21.10.2016 | Materials Sciences

More VideoLinks >>>