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Chinese researchers progress in nano-scale ultralow friction study

Xinhua | Updated: 2023-03-01 17:04
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LANZHOU -- Chinese researchers have made progress in the field of nano-scale ultralow friction study, shedding light on a better understanding of friction mechanism and engineering applications, according to the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS).

The study team systematically explored the nanotribological properties of NbSe2, and explained the ultralow friction and wear-resistant mechanisms of mono-layer NbSe2, said Wang Dao'ai, a researcher at Lanzhou Institute of Chemical Physics under the CAS.

They found that high-quality monolayer NbSe2 of 0.8 nm has ultralow friction and super wear resistance in an atmospheric environment, with a lower friction coefficient and better wear resistance compared with heavy-layer NbSe2.

NbSe2, a novel solid lubricant, maintains supreme lubricating and antiwear properties under moist conditions. Research on the nanotribological properties of monolayer NbSe2 is still lacking. The bottleneck is the growth of high-quality monolayer NbSe2 that can be used for nanotribological experiments.

Superlubricity and super-wear resistance are critical for the long-term operation of machines, energy savings, and ultimate carbon peaking and carbon neutrality goals.

A better understanding of their mechanisms will promote the development of high-end equipment manufacturing, hard-disk technology, space exploration, and precision manufacturing, according to Wang.

There are also great demands for atomically thin, super lubricating, and super wear-resistant materials in micro-and-nano electromechanical systems.

Therefore, the new study gives new theoretical support to the research and development of friction-reducing and antiwear materials, Wang said.

The study results have been published in the journal Nano Letters.

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