Thursday, 18. January 2018, 10:00

Tribological behavior of carbon nanotubes (CNT). Examples in metal matrix composites and protective CNT-based coatings

Dr.-Ing. Sebastian Suarez


In recent years, carbon nanotubes (CNTs) have been receiving a lot of attention in the research community due to their outstanding intrinsic mechanical properties. In addition to that, their shape, high aspect ratio and high flexibility rendered them as a promising candidate for friction and wear reduction in tribological applications. Machine elements subjected to tribological effects usually work under a wide variety of conditions and one of the main goals in their design is the prediction of their duty life. However, despite being a widely studied topic, there is still a lack of fundamental understanding on the degradation mechanisms that determine the component’s duty life.

This presentation provides an overview of our activities carried out in the past years on the application of carbon nanoparticles in tribological systems. We have studied their applicability as either reinforcement phase in composite materials, as a protective coating or a combination thereof. The analysis has been carried out from a structural and tribo-chemical perspective under different load regimes and environments (dry and humid).

Our results show that under prototype testing conditions, it is possible to significantly reduce friction (and thus, reduce the energy losses) and to enhance the duty life of the component by up to two orders of magnitude by the incorporation of carbon nanotubes.