Date of Award

5-1-2010

Degree Name

Master of Science

Department

Physics

First Advisor

Talapatra, Saikat

Abstract

Solid lubricants possessing low friction coefficients, low wear rates, and long wear lives are vital for significantly increasing the life span of instruments undergoing extreme frictional wear due to harsh environments. Solid lubricants currently used in high temperatures or excess humidity, such as MoS2, WS2, graphite, or noble metals, are unable to sustain superior frictional qualities over extended amounts of time or in changing environments. To ameliorate these limiting properties, a composite solid lubricant is produced to enable the favorable frictional properties of one lubricant to overcome the lacking frictional properties of the other. This composite uses the combined materials to produce a solid lubricant that can sustain a low friction coefficient and wear rate for a longer amount of time than each individual material. MoS2 electrodeposited on to carbon nanotubes (CNTs) has a lower friction coefficient in humid (~0.16), non-humid (~0.05) and non-humid/humid cycled (~0.075-0.2) environments than either bare MoS2 or bare CNTs. Similarly, silver deposited on CNTs, by electrodeposition, electroless deposition, and sputter coating, performs better in room temperature, high temperature (500°C), and room temperature/high temperature cycling environments than either of its individual materials. Using the techniques used to produce these solid lubricant composite coatings with appealing frictional properties will provide a variety of tribological applications involving high temperature and/or high humidity environments with necessary solutions and further facilitate the improvement of solid lubricants used in other extreme environments.

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