Tribochemical synthesis of nano-lubricant films from adsorbed molecules at sliding solid interface: Tribo-polymers from α-pinene, pinane, and n-decane

Xin He, Anthony J. Barthel, Seong H. Kim

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The mechanochemical reactions of adsorbed molecules at sliding interfaces were studied for α-pinene (C10H16), pinane (C10H18), and n-decane (C10H22) on a stainless steel substrate surface. During vapor phase lubrication, molecules adsorbed at the sliding interface could be activated by mechanical shear. Under the equilibrium adsorption condition of these molecules, the friction coefficient of sliding steel surfaces was about 0.2 and a polymeric film was tribochemically produced. The synthesis yield of α-pinene tribo-polymers was about twice as much as pinane tribo-polymers. In contrast to these strained bicyclic hydrocarbons, n-decane showed much weaker activity for tribo-polymerization at the same mechanical shear condition. These results suggested that the mechanical shear at tribological interfaces could induce the opening of the strained ring structure of α-pinene and pinane, which leads to polymerization of adsorbed molecules at the sliding track. On a stainless steel surface, such polymerization reactions of adsorbed molecules do not occur under typical surface reaction conditions. The mechanical properties and boundary lubrication efficiency of the produced tribo-polymer films are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)352-359
Number of pages8
JournalSurface Science
StatePublished - Jun 1 2016


All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Surfaces and Interfaces
  • Surfaces, Coatings and Films
  • Materials Chemistry

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