Superlubricity and Stress-Shielding of Graphene Enables Ultra Scratch- Resistant Glasses

S Sahoo and Z Khan and S Mannan and U Tiwari and ZJ Ye and NMA Krishnan and NN Gosvami, ACS APPLIED MATERIALS & INTERFACES, 15, 51905-51914 (2023).

DOI: 10.1021/acsami.3c09653

Glasses, when subjected to scratch loading, incur damages affecting their optical and mechanical integrity. Here, it is demonstrated that silica glasses protected with mechanically exfoliated few-layer graphene sheets can exhibit remarkable improvement in scratch resistance. To this extent, the friction and wear characteristics of silica glasses with exfoliated graphene using atomic force microscopy (AFM) are explored. The friction forces recorded during AFM scratch tests of the graphene- glass surfaces at multiple loads exhibit similar to 98% reduction compared to that of the bare silica glass, with the friction coefficient falling in the superlubricity regime. This dramatic reduction in friction achieved by the graphene sheets results in significantly lower wear of the graphene-glass surfaces postscratching. Further investigations employing atomistic simulations reveal that the stress- shielding mechanism is due to the reduced deformation of graphene-glass surfaces, thereby curtailing the overall damage. Altogether, the present work provides a new fillip toward the development of glasses with enhanced scratch resistance exploiting two-dimensional coatings.

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