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Research Highlight | Center for Nanoscale Materials

Superlubricity in rolling/sliding contacts

In a study published in Applied Physics Letters, researchers showed that superlubricity was achieved in rolling/sliding contact through the formation of a carbon-rich tribolayer at the tribological interface.

Scientific Achievement

Superlubricity (near zero friction) was achieved in rolling/sliding contact through the formation of a carbon-rich tribolayer at the tribological interface. This reduced the overall friction at least 20-fold, with no surface damage, as compared to steel-steel contacts lubricated with oil.

Significance and Impact

Replacing conventional oil-based lubricants with next-generation solid lubricants would have significant efficiency implications in a variety of industrial applications involving roller bearings and gears.

Research Details

  • Developed a system of two-dimensional (2D) MoS2 combined with nanodiamonds as a solid lubricant and demonstrated superlubricity in a micropitting rig (MPR) to test and qualify nanoscale lubricants for bearings and gear systems.
  • Center for Nanoscale Materials capabilities included transmission electron microscopy, scanning electron microscopy and Raman.

Work was performed in part at the Center for Nanoscale Materials.


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About Argonne’s Center for Nanoscale Materials
The Center for Nanoscale Materials is one of the five DOE Nanoscale Science Research Centers, premier national user facilities for interdisciplinary research at the nanoscale supported by the DOE Office of Science. Together the NSRCs comprise a suite of complementary facilities that provide researchers with state-of-the-art capabilities to fabricate, process, characterize and model nanoscale materials, and constitute the largest infrastructure investment of the National Nanotechnology Initiative. The NSRCs are located at DOE’s Argonne, Brookhaven, Lawrence Berkeley, Oak Ridge, Sandia and Los Alamos National Laboratories. For more information about the DOE NSRCs, please visit https://​sci​ence​.osti​.gov/​U​s​e​r​-​F​a​c​i​l​i​t​i​e​s​/​U​s​e​r​-​F​a​c​i​l​i​t​i​e​s​-​a​t​-​a​-​G​lance.

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