Navigation Links
Using nature as a model for low-friction bearings
Date:5/14/2014

Lubricants are required wherever moving parts come together. They prevent direct contact between solid elements and ensure that gears, bearings, and valves work as smoothly as possible. Depending on the application, the ideal lubricant must meet conflicting requirements. On the one hand, it should be as thin as possible because this reduces friction. On the other hand, it should be viscous enough that the lubricant stays in the contact gap. In practice, grease and oils are often used because their viscosity increases with pressure.

Biological lubrication in contrast is much more efficient. In joints, a thin, watery solution prevents friction. The thin film stays where it should thanks to a trick of nature. A polymer layer is anchored to the cartilage at the end of bones. Polymers are a string of densely packed, long-chain molecules. They protrude from the cartilage and form "polymer brushes" which attract the extremely fluid lubricant and keep it in place at the contact point.

Over the last 20 years, numerous attempts have been made to imitate the natural model technically. But with no resounding success. The tentacle-like polymers on surfaces opposite each other tend to get tangled up in each other. They slow each other down and detach from the surfaces. In technical systems, individual polymers that become detached are difficult to replace as they do not possess the same self-healing mechanisms as in a natural organism.

Jlich physicist Prof. Martin Mser came up with the idea of using two different polymers at the contact point to prevent the polymers becoming entangled. "Using supercomputers, we simulated what would happen if we applied water-soluble polymers to one side and water-repellent polymers to the other side," says head of the NIC (John von Neumann Institute for Computing) group Computational Materials Physics at the Jlich Supercomputing Centre (JSC)." This combination of water-based and oil-based liquids as a lubricant reduced the friction by two orders of magnitude around a factor of 90 compared to a system comprising just one type of polymer."

Measurements with an atomic force microscope at the University of Twente in the Netherlands verified the results. "The two different phases of the liquid separate because they repel each other. This simultaneously holds the polymers back and prevents them from protruding beyond the borders," says Dr. Sissi de Beer, who recently moved from Mser's group to the University of Twente.

The low-friction two-component lubricant is interesting for numerous applications. One example are simple piston systems, like syringes, which are used to precisely administer even tiny amounts of a drug. Above all, the new process could provide low-friction solutions where high pressures and forces occur locally for example, axle bearings and hinges. For the most common lubricant engine oil an alternative has yet to be found; conventional polymer brushes are unable to withstand the high temperatures.


'/>"/>

Contact: Tobias Schlößer
t.schloesser@fz-juelich.de
49-246-161-4771
Forschungszentrum Juelich
Source:Eurekalert  

Related biology news :

1. High-efficiency water treatment using light using a novel UV-light system
2. Genetic disorder causing strokes and vascular inflammation in children has been discovered
3. Economic evaluation of an osteoporosis screening campaign using FRAX
4. Using more wood for construction can slash global reliance on fossil fuels
5. Using different scents to attract or repel insects
6. UGA researchers explore function of cancer-causing gene
7. Using PET scanning to evaluate therapies of Menkes disease
8. RoboClam replicates a clams ability to burrow while using little energy
9. A study using Drosophila flies reveals new regulatory mechanisms of cell migration
10. Overpopulation: The transparent elephant in the room causing crucial modern crises
11. Urban bees using plastic to build hives
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
Related Image:
Using nature as a model for low-friction bearings
(Date:1/27/2016)... 2016  Rite Track, Inc. a leading semiconductor equipment ... Chester, Ohio announced today the acquisition of PLUS ... in Austin, Texas , will significantly ... modifications, installations and technical support offerings for TEL Track ... commented, "PLUS has provided world class service including refurbishment, ...
(Date:1/22/2016)... 2016 http://www.researchandmarkets.com/research/4lmf2s/global_behavioral ... the  "Global Behavioral Biometric Market 2016-2020" ... http://www.researchandmarkets.com/research/4lmf2s/global_behavioral ) has announced the ... Market 2016-2020"  report to their offering. ... http://www.researchandmarkets.com/research/4lmf2s/global_behavioral ) has announced the addition ...
(Date:1/20/2016)... A market that just keeps on growing. ... explosion in genomics knowledge. Learn all about it in ... of dynamic trends are pushing market growth and company ... pharmacogenomics - pathogen evolution - next generation sequencing - ... understanding of the role of genetic material in Disease ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:2/11/2016)... Feb. 11, 2016  Vermillion, Inc. (NASDAQ: VRML ... today announced the formation of the Steering Committee for ... --> Pelvic masses can present physicians ... management. Once pregnancy is ruled out, pelvic masses may ... advanced endometriosis, benign ovarian tumors and gastrointestinal and urinary ...
(Date:2/11/2016)... 11, 2016  Wellcentive today announced it has ... Oregon -based community care organization (CCO) with ... analytics, quality reporting and care management solutions and ... team of quality managers, analysts and care managers ... groups serving FamilyCare members. ...
(Date:2/11/2016)...   BioInformant announces the February 2016 release ... Opportunities, Tools, and Technologies – Market Size, Segments, Trends, ... The first and only market ... BioInformant has more than a decade of historical information ... stem cell type. This powerful 175 page global strategic ...
(Date:2/10/2016)... , Febr. 10, 2016 /PRNewswire/ - BioAmber Inc. (NYSE: ... pleased to announce that Mitsui & Co. Ltd., its ... succinic acid plant, is investing an additional CDN$25 million ... increasing its stake from 30% to 40%.  Mitsui will ... bio-succinic acid produced in Sarnia , ...
Breaking Biology Technology: