Researchers have created a new type of non-liquid lubricant that has been shown to reduce friction and wear significantly under the extreme conditions found in various applications, from air compressors to missile systems.
The new liquid-free composite is made from a slurry of a material called graphene, zinc oxide, and the polymer polyvinylidene difluoride. Graphene is an extremely thin layer of carbon that has many potential technological applications, including lubrication.
"It has superior thermal conductivity, high strength and provides ultralow friction," said Vilas Pol, an associate professor of chemical engineering at Purdue University.
The nanosize zinc-oxide particles the team developed allow the lubricant to stick to the metal surface, and the polymer binds the whole mixture together, said chemical engineering graduate student Arthur Dysart.