Superlubricity — the state of ultra-low friction and wear — holds great promise for the reduction of frictional wear in mechanical and automatic devices.

Superlubricity holds great promise for reducing frictional wear. (Credit: Tel Aviv University)

A new study finds that robust structural superlubricity can be achieved between dissimilar, microscale-layered materials under high external loads and ambient conditions. The researchers found that microscale interfaces between graphite and hexagonal boron nitride exhibit ultra-low friction and wear. This is an important milestone for future technological applications in medical and other industries.

The new interface is six orders of magnitude larger in surface area than earlier nanoscale measurements and exhibits robust superlubricity in all interfacial orientations and under ambient conditions. The researchers suggest it can be also used in a new generation of ball bearings to reduce rotational friction and support radial and axial loads, noting that their energy losses and wear will be significantly lower than in existing devices.

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