Gas-phase lubrication of ta-C by glycerol and hydrogen peroxide. experimental and computer modeling

  • Martin J
  • De Barros Bouchet M
  • Matta C
 et al. 
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Tetrahedrally coordinated hydrogen-free amorphous diamond-like carbon coating (denoted as ta-C) presents ultralow friction under boundary lubrication conditions at 80 °C in presence of OH-containing molecules. To understand the mechanism of ultralow friction, we performed gas-phase lubrication experiments followed by time-of-flight secondary ion mass spectrometry (ToF-SIMS) analyses and this using two simple molecules: deuterated glycerol and hydrogen peroxide. The experiments were complemented by computer simulations using the ReaxFF reactive force field. These simulations suggest a ta-C surface rich in sp2 carbon with some reactive sp1 carbon atoms, in agreement with previous energy filtered transmission electron microscopy (EFTEM) results. Sliding simulations show that the carbon surface atoms react with glycerol and hydrogen peroxide to form OH-termination. Moreover, the hydroxylation is then followed by the chemical dissociation of some of the glycerol molecules leading to the formation of water. This is in agreement with the secondary ion mass spectrometry (SIMS) analyses and mass spectrometer results obtained with gas-phase lubrication experiments with the same molecules. Both experimental and computer simulations strongly suggest that the hydroxylation of the carbon surface is at the origin of ultralow friction together with the formation of water- rich film in the sliding interface.

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  • Jean Michel Martin

  • Maria Isabel De Barros Bouchet

  • Christine Matta

  • Qing Zhang

  • William A. Goddard

  • Sachiko Okuda

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