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Synthesis of water-soluble Cu nanoparticles and evaluation of their tribological properties and thermal conductivity as a water-based additive

  • Junhua Zhao
  • Guangbin Yang
  • Chunli Zhang
  • Yujuan Zhang
  • Shengmao Zhang
  • Pingyu Zhang
Open Access
Research Article


Efficient and sustainable use of water-based lubricants is essential for energy efficiency. Therefore, the use of water-lubricated mechanical systems instead of conventional oil lubricants is extremely attractive from the viewpoint of resource conservation. In this study, water-soluble Cu nanoparticles of size approximately 3 nm were prepared at room temperature (around 25 °C) via in-situ surface modification. The tribological behavior of the as-synthesized Cu nanoparticles as an additive in distilled water was evaluated using a universal micro-tribotester. The results show that the as-synthesized Cu nanoparticles, as a water-based lubricant additive, can significantly improve the tribological properties of distilled water. In particular, the lowest friction coefficient of 0.06 was obtained via lubrication with a concentration of 0.6 wt% of Cu nanoparticles in distilled water, which is a reduction of 80.6% compared with that obtained via lubrication with distilled water alone. It is considered that some Cu nanoparticles entered the contact area of the friction pairs to form a complex lubricating film and prevent direct contact of the friction pairs. Furthermore, some Cu nanoparticles in the solution accelerate the heat transfer process, which also results in good tribological properties.


Cu nanoparticles water-soluble lubricant additive tribological properties 



The authors acknowledge the financial support provided by the Ministry of Science and Technology of China (project of “973” Plan, grant No. 2013CB632303) and National Natural Science Foundation of China (grant Nos. 51405132, 21671053 and 51605143).

Supplementary material

40544_2018_209_MOESM1_ESM.pdf (1.5 mb)
Synthesis of water-soluble Cu nanoparticles and evaluation of their tribological properties and thermal conductivity as a water-based additive


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Copyright information

© The author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Engineering Research Center for NanomaterialsHenan UniversityKaifengChina

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