Quantitative In-Situ TEM Nanotribology Tester
Friction and wear are energy-robbing processes that represent a tremendous burden to the national economy, especially in this time of record oil/fuel prices. Unfortunately, the field of tribology (the science of friction, lubrication, and wear of interacting surfaces in relative motion) lags many other disciplines in terms of fundamental knowledge. What is needed is a new tool that enables tribological study at an unprecedented level of detail. The overall objective of this project is to develop a quantitative nanotribology tester for in situ experimentation in transmission electron microscopes. Such a tool would enable direct, real-time correlation of the friction coefficient and the wear rate to microstructure evolution and changes in sliding contact conditions. This project will develop a multidimensional force transducer that is miniature enough to be incorporated into the very cramped space of the holder of a transmission electron microscopy. Phase I demonstrated feasibility by designing and constructing the force transducer, conducting finite element simulations, and performing bench-top experiments. Phase II will (1) optimize the miniature multidimensional force transducer, along with the electronics and firmware/software associated with the force transducer; (2) incorporate the force transducer into a transmission electron microscopy holder capable of electrical contact resistance measurement; and (3) perform in situ tribological research in a transmission electron microscope, in order to identify suitable leading-edge applications. Commercial Applications and Other Benefits as described by the awardee: The new tool would enable tribologists and microscopists to examine the exact nature of complex tribological processes in a quantitative, high-resolution, direct-observation fashion. The technology also could aid in producing breakthrough discoveries related to new nanotechnology-based solid lubricants ¿ the question of how the few existing nanoscale solid lubricants impart their lubricity is currently a matter of debate.
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10025 Valley View Road Minneapolis, MN 55344
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