Multi-Phase Friction and Wear Reduction by Copper Nanopartices
Finely dispersed copper nanoparticles were added as an additive to fully-formulated engine oils. The copper additive was in colloidal form, with an inner core of Cu2+ atoms covered by surfactants to form stable reverse micelles that are completely dispersible in the base oil. The tribological process to form protective films at the metal surface is comprised of three phases. Phase I can be considered a physical process involving the build-up of polar molecules by absorption to produce a friction modifier film, whereas phases II and III have to be treated as mechanochemical processes comprising a combination of redox reactions and a third body formation. The tribological performance was investigated using atomic force microscopy, a microtribometer, a pin-on-disk tribometer in combination with continuous and high-resolution wear measurements with radionuclide technique, and high pressure stressing in a thrust roller bearing test rig. In addition, the nanostructure of the additive was characterized by atomic force microscopy. Finally, the chemical composition of the metal surface was analyzed using photoelectron spectroscopy.