New material with astonishing properties

Superlubricity conserves materials and energy

Whenever components move in machines this creates friction. This friction wears down the materials and increases the energy consumption. A new carbon-based material with very low friction losses has now been tested, by way of example, in the automotive industry. The aim is to make it suitable for mass production purposes. The new BINE-Projektinfo brochure “Superlubricity in vehicles” (11/2012) presents the physical principles and the material properties of the diamond-like carbon coatings. The practical tests were conducted on axle drives.

The carbon coatings are applied to surfaces using cathode sputtering in a high vacuum and can be produced with very different material properties. They combine extraordinary lubricity with anti-adhesive properties, chemical stability and extreme material hardness. In systematic series tests, the researchers have optimised potential lubricants that are required for achieving superlubricity in most application areas. The focus was on reducing the friction losses with axle drives in vehicles. Here smooth surfaces coated with diamond-like carbon in combination with low-viscosity lubricants proved the most effective. For all the load areas investigated, the power losses were reduced by between 12 and 32 %. This represents an extraordinary improvement on the previous technologies.

Surfaces coated with the new material are also interesting for other sectors. For example, their chemical resistance and biological compatibility make them ideal for use in medical technology applications, for example for prosthetic limbs, heart valves and orthodontic materials. The BINE-Projektinfo brochure “Superlubricity in vehicles” (11/2012), which can be obtained free of charge from the BINE Information Service at FIZ Karlsruhe, is available online at www.bine.info or by calling +49 (0)228 92379-0.


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Superlubricity conserves materials and energy

Das Cover des BINE-Projektinfo „Supraschmierung im Automobil“ (11/12)

(300 dpi, tiff, 1,2 MB)