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November 16th, 2007
Nanotechnology has become a focus of research because a better understanding of how atoms interact with each other at the molecular scale provides tribologists with better tools for reducing friction and wear. In TLT we have highlighted a number of different efforts in this area, including the development of a wettability gradient that can change the nature of a surface from being hydrophilic to hydrophobic.'
Solid lubricants also are an active area of research, and in the May 2007 TLT we described work done to better understand molybdenum disulfide nanoclusters.2 Dr. Niles Fleischer, vice president of business development and vice president of product development for NanoMaterials Ltd. in Nes Ziona, Israel, says, "Conventional solid lubricants such as molybdenum disulfide and tungsten disulfide are layered, lamellar compounds. In an ideal situation, these layers slide past each other, which leads to a reduction in friction. However, since the edges of these layers are chemically reactive, the particles can degrade and bind with the surface of a substrate in ways that actually interfere with lubrication." Also, conventional solid lubricants are not small enough to enter the pores of metal parts to create self-lubricating components.
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