Argonne Nano Design Works – Using Nanotechnology to Fight Friction and Wear

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September 26, 2016 | Originally published by Date Line: September 26 on

Diamond and graphene “nanoscrolls” could revolutionize lubrication.

Friction and wear are terrible twins that bedevil any machinery with moving parts. Approximately 30 percent of a vehicle engine’s power is sacrificed to frictional loss, and wear is a consistent destroyer of engines and other parts.

Argonne scientists have spent decades conducting cutting-edge research in tribology, seeking new ways to fight the negative consequences of friction and wear. Researchers have developed numerous types of coatings, lubricants, and additives that have greatly reduced the cost of friction.

As the bar is raised higher in the search for frictionless machines, Argonne scientists have looked to the tiny particles of nanotechnology to finally help tame these terrible twins. Numerous solutions have been developed, but one of the more novel discoveries involves tiny diamonds wrapped in graphene that help to achieve that rarified state of “superlubricity,” a highly desirable property in which friction drops to near zero.