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Influence of Organic Friction Modifier on Liquid Slip: A New Mechanism of Organic Friction Modifier Action

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Recent work using a number of experimental techniques has shown that simple Newtonian liquids can slip against very smooth, lyophobic surfaces. Most previous work has examined lyophobic surfaces produced by forming self-assembled monolayers on smooth substrates. However it has also been shown that octadecanoic (stearic) acid solution in hydrocarbon can promote slip of the liquid against smooth surfaces. This raises the intriguing possibility that one mechanism of action of organic friction modifier additives may be to promote slip in hydrodynamic contacts and thus reduce friction. To test this conjecture, experiments have been carried using a low-load, hydrodynamic friction tester in which a glass cylinder is loaded against a very smooth sapphire flat which has been previously immersed in stearic acid solution. The contact is supplied with a solution of stearic acid in hexadecane and the glass cylinder is rotated at a speed sufficient to generate a full hydrodynamic film. It is found that this system gives significantly lower friction than when using hexadecane alone or when the sapphire is slightly roughened. The results are consistent with the occurrence of liquid slip at the sapphire surface.

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We thank the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC), United Kingdom, for funding this research.

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Correspondence to Hugh A. Spikes.

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Choo, JH., Forrest, A.K. & Spikes, H.A. Influence of Organic Friction Modifier on Liquid Slip: A New Mechanism of Organic Friction Modifier Action. Tribol Lett 27, 239–244 (2007).

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