Strengthening lubricants using graphene

A 3D graphene lubricant composite may enhance friction, lubrication, and durability.

Researchers from Henan University of Science and Technology and the Chinese Academy of Sciences have discovered it is possible to repurpose a porous 3D graphene-based material to create lubricants for engineering purposes.

With lubricants operating in severe working conditions, the study showed that the strength and excellent antiwear capability of 3D graphene was effective as a nanoscale filler. The researchers combatted the high friction generated by graphene by adding in other fillers, such as paraffin wax, to reach optimal friction reduction and wear resistance.

There is clearly still work to be done as the scientists struggled to ensure uniform dispersion but early studies show that using the composite enhances friction, lubrication and durability with the composite itself showing wear-resistance greater than 160 times that of other matrix material.

According to Professor Bingli Pan: “The tribological properties of the composite are extremely excellent even under harsh sliding conditions, and only a small amount of graphene filler is needed through the formation of three-dimensional structures, which can save on cost. Therefore, the composite can be used as sliding parts under high loads and high sliding velocities involved in many industries and fields in the future.”