Tribology Letters

, 66:128 | Cite as

Acid Treatment of Diamond-Like Carbon Surfaces for Enhanced Adsorption of Friction Modifiers and Friction Performance

  • Arman Mohammad Khan
  • Xingliang He
  • Hongxing Wu
  • Michael Desanker
  • Ali Erdemir
  • Yip-Wah Chung
  • Q. Jane Wang
Original Paper


Diamond-like carbon (DLC) is a class of amorphous carbon materials used as wear-resistant coatings in tribo-components. The chemical inertness of DLC surfaces, while important in many applications, makes them incompatible with additives in commercial lubricants. Specifically, DLC surfaces do not permit strong adsorption of friction modifier molecules. This study aims at improving the adsorption of these friction modifier molecules on DLC surfaces through an acid treatment. Water contact angle measurements show that such a treatment results in improved hydrophilicity of the DLC. XPS analysis demonstrates 50% increase in the uptake of ArmeenT, an organic friction modifier, on DLC after the acid treatment. This increased ArmeenT adsorption is accompanied by marked decrease in friction in micro-scale friction experiments.


DLC Surface treatment Surface adsorption Friction modifiers 



The authors gratefully acknowledge US Department of Energy for the research support under Contract DE-EE0006449 and US National Science Foundation for research support under Grant CMMI-1662606. We sincerely thank AkzoNobel for the generous supply of friction modifier used in this research. This work also made use of the EPIC facility of Northwestern University’s NUANCE Center, which has received support from the Soft and Hybrid Nanotechnology Experimental (SHyNE) Resource (NSF ECCS-1542205), the MRSEC program (NSF DMR-1720139) at the Materials Research Center, the International Institute for Nanotechnology (IIN), the Keck Foundation, and the State of Illinois (through the IIN).


  1. 1.
    Johnston, S.V., Hainsworth, S.V.: Effect of DLC coatings on wear in automotive applications. Surf. Eng. 21(1), 67–71 (2013)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. 2.
    Dearnaley, G., Arps, J.H.: Biomedical applications of diamond-like carbon (DLC) coatings: a review. Surf. Coat. Technol. 200(7), 2518–2524 (2005)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. 3.
    Casiraghi, C., Robertson, J., Ferrari, A.C.: Diamond-like carbon for data and beer storage. Mater. Today 10(1–2), 44–53 (2007)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. 4.
    Luo, J.K., Fu, Y.Q., Le, H.R., Williams, J.A., Spearing, S.M., Milne, W.I.: Diamond and diamond-like carbon MEMS. J. Micromech. Microeng. 17(7), S147–S163 (2007)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. 5.
    Erdemir, A., Donnet, C.: Tribology of diamond-like carbon films: recent progress and future prospects. J. Phys. D Appl. Phys. 39(18), R311–R327 (2006)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. 6.
    Rincón, C., Zambrano, G., Carvajal, A., Prieto, P., Galindo, H., Martínez, E., Lousa, A., Esteve, J.: Tungsten carbide/diamond-like carbon multilayer coatings on steel for tribological applications. Surf. Coat. Technol. 148(2), 277–283 (2001)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. 7.
    Freyman, C.A., Chen, Y., Chung, Y.-W.: Synthesis of carbon films with ultra-low friction in dry and humid air. Surf. Coat. Technol. 201(1–2), 164–167 (2006)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. 8.
    Cutiongco, E.C., Li, D., Chung, Y.-W., Bhatia, C.S.: Tribological behavior of amorphous carbon nitride overcoats for magnetic thin-film rigid disks. J. Tribol. 118(3), 543–548 (1996)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. 9.
    Heimberg, J.A., Wahl, K.J., Singer, I.L., Erdemir, A.: Superlow friction behavior of diamond-like carbon coatings: time and speed effects. Appl. Phys. Lett. 78(17), 2449–2451 (2001)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. 10.
    Grill, A.: Review of tribology of diamond-like carbon. Wear 168, 143–153 (1993)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. 11.
    Donnet, C., Grill, A.: Friction control of diamond-like carbon coatings. Surf. Coat. Technol. 94–95, 456–462 (1997)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. 12.
    Donnet, C.: Recent progress on the tribology of doped diamond-like and carbon allow coatings: a review. Surf. Coat. Technol. 180–186, 100–101 (1998)Google Scholar
  13. 13.
    Donnet, C., Erdemir, A.: Tribology of Diamond-Like Carbon Films: Fundamentals and Applications. Springer Science & Business Media, New York (2007)Google Scholar
  14. 14.
    Konicek, A.R., Grierson, D.S., Sumant, A.V., Friedmann, T.A., Sullivan, J.P., Gilbert, P.U.P.A., Sawyer, W.G., Carpick, R.W.: Influence of surface passivation on the friction and wear behavior of ultrananocrystalline diamond and tetrahedral amorphous carbon thin films. Phys. Rev. B 85(15), 155448 (2012)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. 15.
    Enke, K., Dimigen, H., Hübsch, H.: Frictional properties of diamondlike carbon layers. Appl. Phys. Lett. 36(4), 291–292 (1980)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. 16.
    Kalin, M., Velkavrh, I., Vižintin, J., Ožbolt, L.: Review of boundary lubrication mechanisms of DLC coatings used in mechanical applications. Meccanica 43(6), 623–637 (2008)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. 17.
    Kano, M., Yasuda, Y., Ye, J.P.: The effect of ZDDP and MoDTC additives in engine oil on the friction properties of DLC-coated and steel cam followers. Lubr. Sci 17, 95–103 (2004)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. 18.
    de Barros’ Bouchet, M.I., Martin, J.M., Le-Mogne, T., Vacher, B.: Boundary lubrication mechanisms of carbon coatings by MoDTC and ZDDP additives. Tribol. Int. 38(3), 257–264 (2005)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. 19.
    Kano, M., Yasuda, Y., Okamoto, Y., Mabuchi, Y., Hamada, T., Ueno, T., Ye, J., Konishi, S., Takeshima, S., Martin, J.M., De Barros Bouchet, M.I., Mognee, T.L.: Ultralow friction of DLC in presence of glycerol mono-oleate (GNO). Tribol. Lett. 18(2), 245–251 (2005)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. 20.
    Hummers, W.S. Jr., Offeman, R.E.: Preparation of graphitic oxide. J. Am. Chem. Soc. 80(6), 1339–1339 (1958)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. 21.
    Wepasnick, K.A., Smith, B.A., Schrote, K.E., Wilson, H.K., Diegelmann, S.R., Fairbrother, D.H.: Surface and structural characterization of multi-walled carbon nanotubes following different oxidative treatments. Carbon 49(1), 24–36 (2011)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. 22.
    Erdemir, A.: The role of hydrogen in tribological properties of diamond-like carbon films Surf. Coat. Technol. 146–147, 292–297 (2001)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. 23.
    Marcano, D.C., Kosynkin, D.V., Berlin, J.M., Sinitskii, A., Sun, Z., Slesarev, A., Alemany, L.B., Lu, W., Tour, J.M.: Improved synthesis of graphene oxide. ACS Nano 4(8), 4806–4814 (2010)CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Arman Mohammad Khan
    • 1
  • Xingliang He
    • 1
  • Hongxing Wu
    • 1
    • 2
  • Michael Desanker
    • 3
  • Ali Erdemir
    • 4
  • Yip-Wah Chung
    • 1
    • 5
  • Q. Jane Wang
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Mechanical EngineeringNorthwestern UniversityEvanstonUSA
  2. 2.Key Laboratory of Education Ministry for Modern Design and Rotor Bearing SystemsXi’an Jiaotong UniversityXi’anPeople’s Republic of China
  3. 3.Department of ChemistryNorthwestern UniversityEvanstonUSA
  4. 4.Energy Systems DivisionArgonne National LaboratoryLemontUSA
  5. 5.Department of Materials Science and EngineeringNorthwestern UniversityEvanstonUSA

Personalised recommendations