Friction control in different lubrication regimes
Abstract: We often strive to minimize friction but there are also many situations where high friction is desirable. In some cases, something in between, i.e. optimum friction, is attractive. Driven by the broad application prospects, many controllable friction systems regulated with external stimuli such as solvent, pH, temperature, electric potential, and magnetic fields have been designed and fabricated. When external stimuli are imposed on the smart materials, the macroscopic physicochemical properties of the materials are dramatically changed, making controllable friction behavior to become possible. However, most of these exploratory works are in nano/micro size, which cannot be applied in macroscale for industry applications. Lubrication is mainly classified as three regimes: boundary, mixed and full film lubrication. If considering molecular size as well, there exists thin film lubrication between boundary lubrication and elastohydrodynamic lubrication, with the lubricating film thickness of a few nanometers to tens of nanometers. This thesis attempts to find more versatile methods of friction control and tries to find the possibility to achieve friction control at macroscale in all these lubrication regimes.In this thesis, we investigated the possibility of adjusting friction by controlling viscosity in a lubricated contact and it was found that friction of switchable ionic liquids could be controlled in the EHL regime enabled by CO2 absorption and desorption in Paper 1. Glycerol solution formulated with ionic liquid was employed in Paper 2 to obtain superlubricity in thin film lubrication, and it was observed that the lubrication state could be switched between superlubricity and non-superlubricity by adjusting humidity. Friction control of multi-functional green lubricant in mixed lubrication was evaluated in Paper 3. Finally, the macroscopic friction control of ionic liquids in boundary lubrication enabled by environmental humidity was described in Paper 4, and stimuli responsive hydrogel also could be used for achieving friction control in boundary lubrication, studied in Paper 5.
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