Self-lubricating SU-8 Nanocomposites for Microelectromechanical Systems Applications
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SU-8 is an industrially useful photoresist polymer for micro-fabrication because of its unique UV-sensitive curing property. It is also used as a structural material for micro-machines such as micro-electro mechanical systems (MEMS). However, it has poor tribological and mechanical properties which make SU-8 inferior to Si, the mainstay MEMS material today. In this paper, we report the fabrication of SU-8 nanocomposites which are self-lubricating and have better mechanical properties. The liquid lubricant i.e., perfluoropolyether (PFPE) and nanoparticles such as SiO2, CNTs, and graphite were added into SU-8 for this purpose. These self-lubricating SU-8 + PFPE and SU-8 + PFPE + nanoparticle composites have shown a reduction in the initial coefficient of friction by ~6–9 times and increased wear life by more than four orders of magnitude. The mechanical properties such as the elastic modulus and the hardness have increased by ~1.4 times. These SU-8 nanocomposites can be used as a self-lubricating structural material for MEMS applications requiring no external lubrication. As well, these nanocomposites can find applications in many tribological components of traditional machines.
KeywordsLubrication Polymer Self-lubrication MEMS
This research is supported by the Singapore National Research Foundation under its CRP (Competitive Research Program) funding (Award Number: NRF-CRP 2-2007-04). The views expressed herein are those of the authors and are not necessarily those of the Singapore National Research Foundation. Part of the results presented here has been filed for US Provisional Patent Application No.: 61/563,522, Filing date: 23 November 2011 (Inventors: S. K. Sinha, Prabakaran Saravanan, and N. Satyanarayana).
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