Water-based superlubricity in vacuum
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This study achieved water-based superlubricity with the lubrication of H3PO4 solution in vacuum (highest vacuum degree <10–4 torr) for the first time by performing a pre-running process in air before running in vacuum. The stable water-based superlubricity was sustainable in vacuum (0.02 torr) for 14 h until the test was stopped by the user for non-experimental factor. A further analysis suggested that the superlubricity may be attributed to the phosphoric acid–water network formed in air, which can efficiently lock water molecules in the liquid lubricating film even in vacuum owing to the strong hydrogen bond interaction. Such capability to lock water is strongly affected by the strength of hydrogen bond and environmental conditions. The realization of water-based superlubricity with H3PO4 solution in vacuum can lead to its application in space environment.
Keywordsfriction water-based superlubricity vacuum phosphoric acid
The authors are grateful for the financial support from the National Natural Science Foundation of China (Nos. 51527901, 51405256), and Self-developed Project of State Key Laboratory of Traction Power (No. 2017TPL_Z02).
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