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February 24th, 2005
Finding slippery surfaces for nanodevices with moving parts is a subtle business. Researchers in the USA have found that different classes of material work best for different sliding speeds1.
For rapid sliding movements, say Nikhil Tambe and Bharat Bhushan of Ohio State University, soft materials such as polymers tend to have the lowest friction and adhesion forces. But if the sliding velocity is slow, hard materials work better.
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