Abstract: The energy loss due to wear and friction in moving mechanical systems amounts to a quarter of total energy loss worldwide. There is growing demand to develop advanced lubricants that can last longer, can work in any environment, don’t need replenishment, are cheaper to produce on a large scale, and most importantly, are environment friendly. Our research at the Center for Nanoscale Materials has focused on understanding the atomic-scale origin of friction and how that can be linked to the macroscopic world.
I will discuss various pathways in developing solid lubricants based on a combination of 2-D materials and nanoparticles and how it is possible to reduce friction and wear to near zero (superlubricity) at engineering scale for the first time. I will also discuss some recent results in extending superlubricity in rolling/sliding contacts and our efforts toward commercialization by working collaboratively with industries.