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Molecular Orientation, Crystallinity, and Topographical Changes in Sliding and their Frictional Effects for UHMWPE Film


This paper presents a study on the frictional anisotropy of semi-crystalline UHMWPE polymer film deposited on DLC-overcoated Si substrate. For UHMWPE film slid against a silicon nitride ball, there is a remarkable difference in the coefficient of friction between the forward and reverse directions after the slider has been initially slid against the film for certain number of cycles. The changes in the friction are greatly influenced by the initial number of sliding cycles. This frictional behavior is explained in terms of crystallinity change and molecular orientational effects on UHMWPE and micro-topographical effects due to the initial sliding. Nanoscratch test is conducted to understand the friction of the polymer film in the sliding track and the data are compared with the macroscale friction data. The results show that the friction in the reverse of the initial sliding direction is high in comparison to that in the forward direction and this behavior mainly depends upon the number of initial sliding cycles. The initial sliding cycles affect the crystallinity and molecular orientation of the film, as well as the film topography. This combined effect on the polymer film results in an anisotropic frictional behavior of the film.

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This study was funded by a research grant from the Faculty of Engineering, NUS (#R-265-000-248-112). The authors would like to acknowledge Ms. Shen Lu for her assistance in the use of nanoscratching and nanoindentation, and Ms. Toh Mei Ling for FTIR. Both of them are from the Institute of Materials Research and Engineering, Singapore. We also wish to thank Mr. K. C. Chung, Ticona Representative Office, Singapore, for donating UHMWPE powder for this study. One of the authors (M. Minn) would like to acknowledge the Graduate School of Engineering, NUS for the scholarship awarded to support for his studies at NUS.

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Correspondence to Sujeet K. Sinha.

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Minn, M., Sinha, S.K. Molecular Orientation, Crystallinity, and Topographical Changes in Sliding and their Frictional Effects for UHMWPE Film. Tribol Lett 34, 133 (2009).

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  • Crystallinity
  • Friction
  • Orientation
  • Sliding direction