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Education and Outreach Programs

Lakes Community High School ESRP 2020

Wear/Friction Studies of Steel vs. Steel Using Graphene as a Lubricant: Study of Lubricity Using Nanoscale Materials


  • Students:
    • Yumna Ahmed
    • Dalton Hass
    • Allison Heuschmidt
    • Jennifer McMahon
    • Michael Variny
  • Teachers:
    • Irina Stan
  • Mentors:
    • Anirudha Sumant (Argonne National Laboratory, Center for Nanoscale Materials)

Center for Nanoscale Materials

The purpose of this research is to find how the 2D form of graphite (Graphene) helps to reduce friction and wear on sliding steel surfaces that will eventually help to develop longer-lasting solid lubricant. This research is important because it will help to replace conventional oil-based lubricants that need to be spent or dumped after their use, creating danger to the environment. The graphene based solid lubricants can be easily spray coated on steel surfaces and due to high surface area, bonded nicely to the steel surface. The lubricant’s compact crystal structure does not allow even water vapors to interact with the underlying steel surface, thus it helps the tribo-corrosion. Tribo-Corrosion is the material degradation process due to the combined effects of corrosion and wear. We studied the effect of graphene lubrication on wear and friction of steel surfaces and will compare its results with that of steel vs steel without any lubricant.

This research was made possible through the Exemplary Student Research Program. Tests were performed using a Ball-on-disc type tribo testing using standard test parameters and results were studied using a Raman spectroscopy and optical microscopy. All trials were performed at the Center for Nanoscale Materials (CNM) at Argonne National Laboratory.

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