Friction and wear of pyrophyllite on the atomic scale

Eric W. Bucholz, Xueying Zhao, Susan B. Sinnott, Scott S. Perry

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


Pyrophyllite, Al 2Si 4O 10(OH) 2, a layered aluminosilicate material, has several properties which suggest that it might exhibit desirable frictional properties for solidstate lubrication. These include a lamellar structure and a low-energy basal plane. Here, we utilize atomic force microscopy to investigate the tribological performance of mineralogical pyrophyllite samples and compare the results to those of other minerals and solid lubricants. The results indicate that pyrophyllite exhibits low friction forces and shear stresses, on the same order of other commonly used solid lubricant materials, and a high resistance to deformation within a single layer. These fundamental findings highlight the potential use of pyrophyllite as a possible tribological material and alternative solid lubricant.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)159-165
Number of pages7
JournalTribology Letters
Issue number2
StatePublished - May 2012

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Mechanics of Materials
  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Surfaces and Interfaces
  • Surfaces, Coatings and Films


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