Mitigating Wear on Surfaces Utilizing Self-Assembled Wear Passivating Films
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Controlling tribological interactions, such as friction and adhesion between contacting interfaces is critical for the advancement of technologies such as microelectromechanical systems (MEMS) devices. The challenge in MEMS device lubrication lies in the inherent nature of the material’s surface at the nanoscale as well as the nature of the surfaces typically used during experimentation. Device surfaces often display nanoscale roughness with surface asperities dictating the tribological properties between interfaces, yet the vast majority of past research has focused predominately on nanotribological studies of thin films on flat silicon substrates to model the behavior of these self-assembled wear-reducing coatings. New model surfaces have been manufactured and integrated into experiments in which surfaces with controlled asperity sizes act as more realistic models of MEMS surfaces. As friction and adhesion between real surfaces in sliding contact are dominated by the interactions of nanoscaled surface asperities, this research is an extension of previous work, moving beyond smooth surfaces by manufacturing and implementing new experimental platforms possessing controlled asperity sizes. The influence of asperity size on the tribological properties of these contacts is being studied for both native oxide and organosilane derivatized surfaces. These studies more readily mimic the conditions found at true asperity-asperity contacts. This research has aimed to develop new lubricant thin films that can effectively protect MEMS device surfaces during use with the long term goal of bringing MEMS devices out of the laboratory and into wide scale commercial use. This work investigates how self-assembled monolayers (SAMs) on curved surfaces can be utilized in manners that their analogs on flat surfaces cannot. SAMs on curved asperities can be used to trap short chain alcohols, which during contact may be released to function as an additional lubricant layer on the surface. Both atomic force microscopy and Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy have been employed to evaluate how chain disorder influences the protective function of these molecular lubricant layers on asperities. It was found that functionalized surfaces resisted wear and were able to operate under continuous scanning for longer time frames than unfunctionalized surfaces and that multicomponent films improved upon the performance of their base, single component analogs.
Jones, Ryan Lane (2011). Mitigating Wear on Surfaces Utilizing Self-Assembled Wear Passivating Films. Doctoral dissertation, Texas A&M University. Available electronically from