Graphene coating makes nanomechanical parts frictionless
Reducing friction can limit wear and improve the energy efficiency of mechanical devices, An international collaboration of scientists from the University of Basel and the Swiss Empa the research team led by Prof. Ernst Meyer have studied the above-average lubricity of graphene using a two-pronged approach combining experimentation and computation.
Graphene is a promising lubricant because the friction between sheets is minuscule under certain circumstances.
Researchers hoping to fathom out the causes of superlubricity; until now, little research has been carried out in this area, They used anchored 2D two-dimensional strips of carbon atoms so-called graphene nanoribbons to a sharp tip and dragged them across a gold surface. Computer-based calculations were used to investigate the interactions between the surfaces as they moved across one another. Using this approach.
By studying the Graphene NanoRibbons (GNR), the researchers hope to learn about more than just the slip behavior. Measuring the mechanical properties of the carbon-based material also makes sense because it offers excellent potential for a whole range of applications in the field of coatings and micromechanical switches. In future, even electronic switches could be replaced by nanomechanical switches, which would use less energy for switching on and off than conventional transistors.
The experiments revealed almost perfect, frictionless movement. It is possible to move graphene ribbons with a length of 5 to 50 nanometers using extremely small forces (2 to 200 piconewtons). There is a high degree of consistency between the experimental observations and the computer simulation.
A discrepancy between the model and reality appears only at greater distances (five nanometers or more) between the measuring tip and the gold surface. This is probably because the edges of the graphene nanoribbons are saturated with hydrogen, which was not accounted for in the simulations.
Researchers said “Our results help us to better understand the manipulation of chemicals at the nano level and pave the way for creating frictionless coatings”.