10 January 2008

Can Nested Spheres of WS2 Keep the Gears Turning?

Beneath the shiny plush hectic surface world, lies a mundane world of gears, bearings, shafts, and sophisticated lubricating systems. If the lubricating system fails, the machine grinds to a halt. The breakdown of some machines cause the shutdown of the entire operation. The world's commerce, power, and transportation systems ride on a thin film of lubricant. Now, nano-tech has found a way to make our machines a bit more fail-safe by providing a backup for standard lubrication.
NanoLub is made up of particles of tungsten disulfide (WS2) that have a structure of nested spheres, called inorganic fullerenes, which lubricate mainly by rolling like miniature ball bearings. When used as an additive to liquid oil or grease, NanoLub significantly enhances the lubricating properties of the oil or grease with respect to wear and friction by an order of magnitude versus the same lubricant without this additive....Recent independent tests by Dr. Adrian Oila of Newcastle University in England were done on gears with heavy duty gear oil that was blended with NanoLub powder. No wear damage to the steel lubricated with the NanoLub oil could be observed with an optical microscope, while significant wear was observed for the reference oil.

...“This feature of lubrication continuity in oil loss conditions not only prevents damage to machines and engines, but has important safety implications in critical systems, such as airborne platforms,” said Dr. Menachem Genut, President and CEO of ApNano Materials. “For instance it would allow a helicopter to land safely even if its engine loses oil.” ... The superlubricity of the NanoLub particles has been discovered by the group of Professor J. M. Martin of Ecole Centrale de Lyon, France. Their experiments demonstrated that when NanoLub was used as an additive to oil, it caused a very low friction coefficient and low wear.

Tungsten disulfide nested spheres constitute a solid lubricant which should be useful in extreme environments--such as desert sandstorms, arctic icestorms, and even outer space applications in vacuum and zero g.

Not exactly the glamour of a Las Vegas CES showcase, but a thousand times more significant.


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