Friction and wear remain the primary cause of mechanical energy dissipation and system failure. Recent studies reveal graphene as a powerful solid lubricant to combat friction and wear. Most of these studies have focused on nanoscale tribology and have been limited to a few specific surfaces. Here, we uncover many unknown aspects of graphene's contact-sliding at micro- A nd macroscopic tribo-scales over a broader range of surfaces. We discover that graphene's performance reduces for surfaces with increasing roughness. To overcome this, we introduce a new type of graphene/silicon nitride (SiNx, 3 nm) bilayer overcoats that exhibit superior performance compared to native graphene sheets (mono and bilayer), that is, display the lowest microscale friction and wear on a range of tribologically poor flat surfaces. More importantly, two-layer graphene/SiNx bilayer lubricant (<4 nm in total thickness) shows the highest macroscale wear durability on tape-head (topologically variant surface) that exceeds most previous thicker (â¼7-100 nm) overcoats. Detailed nanoscale characterization and atomistic simulations explain the origin of the reduced friction and wear arising from these nanoscale coatings. Overall, this study demonstrates that engineered graphene-based coatings can outperform conventional coatings in a number of technologies.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Materials Science(all)
- Condensed Matter Physics
- Mechanical Engineering