Langmuir, Vol.36, No.4, 852-861, 2020
Ultrastable Lubricating Properties of Robust Self-Repairing Tribofilms Enabled by in Situ-Assembled Polydopamine Nanoparticles
Aqueous lubrication in nature is attracting increasing attention in the tribological fields for reducing friction energy consumption and improving anti-wear durability. Generally, adding nanolubricant additives is one of the most important strategies to effectively enhance the interface performance under boundary lubrication via the formation of a protective tribofilm on rubbing surfaces. However, the adsorbed tribofilms are unstable and are prone to failure during friction, and the interaction mechanism between the tribofilms and frictional interfaces is partly disclosed. In this study, inspired by mussels, an in situ-assembled polydopamine (PDA) tribofilm is achieved with PDA nanoparticles as aqueous lubricant additives, which shows excellent lubrication properties. The coefficient of friction is interface-independent and is reduced by as much as 83%. The results show that the PDA tribofilm can not only form chemical bonding with metal interfaces but also present a synergistic lubrication effect with the upper ceramic surface. Especially, a self-repairing effect of the PAD tribofilm is observed, by which the ultrastable lubricating properties can be achieved during friction, and thus, the friction and wear can be effectively controlled. This work provides an effective method for improving the interface stability of friction pairs under aqueous lubrication and also shows great meaning for industrial applications.