Fatty Acid Adsorption on Several DLC Coatings Studied by Neutron Reflectometry

R. Simič, M. Kalin, T. Hirayama, P. Korelis, T. Geue

Tribology Letters 53 (2014) 199-206.


The application of diamond-like carbon (DLC) coatings on the contacts of mechanical systems is becoming widespread thanks to their excellent tribological properties. Numerous studies of DLC coatings have been reported over the past decade and, as a result, the understanding of their lubrication has improved. The tribological properties of boundary-lubricated contacts are drastically affected by adsorbed layers; however, due to the variety of lubricant additives and coating structures, no general adsorption mechanisms for DLC coatings have been put forward until now. This has, unfortunately, hindered improvements in their lubrication performance. Many of the essential physical properties of the adsorbed layers also remain undefined. In this work, we used neutron reflectometry to determine the thickness and the density of the adsorbed layers of fatty acid molecules on coatings of a-C, a-C:H, a-C:H:F and a-C:H:Si. The results showed that a 0.9-nm-thick layer adsorbed onto the a-C and a-C:H coatings. In contrast, both doped coatings, i.e. the a-C:H:F and a-C:H:Si, showed a poorer adsorption ability towards the fatty acid molecules than the a-C and a-C:H. Continuous adsorption layers were not detected on the a-C:H:F and a-C:H:Si; however, the possibility of adsorption in lower quantities cannot be ruled out.

Keywords: DLC, adsorpcija, maščobne kisline, nevtronska reflektometrija

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