Tribological performance and lubrication mechanism of carbon nitride nanosheets as novel and high-efficiency additives for water lubrication

WW Tang and Z Zhang and CJ Li and HD Liu and YF Li and W Zhu and LC Bai, JOURNAL OF MOLECULAR LIQUIDS, 388, 122721 (2023).

DOI: 10.1016/j.molliq.2023.122721

Recently, water-based nano-additives have attracted more attention with the resurrection of water lubrication owing to the increasing awareness of environmental protection and energy-saving. Highly water-dispersible carbon nitride nanosheets (C3N4 nanosheets), obtained via a high-yield and low-cost hydrothermal approach, were first used as a novel and environmentally-friendly nano-additive for water-based lubrication. The tribotest results exhibited that the tribological performances of C3N4 nanosheets in the water-based lubricant are highly sensitive to their adding concentrations. It was found that a C3N4 nanosheet concentration of 0.2 wt% could decrease the friction and wear in steel-steel contacts by 49.0% and 54.2%, respectively. The lubrication performances of C3N4 nanosheets as additives were much better than those of C3N4, attributed to their regular shape, good water dispersibility, and high reactivity. In addition, C3N4 nanosheets as additives exhibited a long service life even under harsh lubrication conditions. In addition, the molecular dynamics (MD) simulation technique was first employed to study the lubrication performances and lubrication regimes of C3N4 nanosheets. By combining the results of MD simulations and wear track surface analyses, the formation of water-based lubricating film and tribochemical film (mainly composed of organic compounds, metal nitrides, iron oxides, metal carbonates, and C3N4 nanosheets) coupled with the interlayer sliding and polishing effects of C3N4 nanosheets were primarily responsible for the excellent tribological performances of C3N4 nanosheets.

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