Review of boundary lubrication mechanisms of DLC coating used in mechanical applications

M. Kalin, I. Velkavrh, J. Vižintin, L. Ožbolt

Meccanica 43 (2008) 623–637.


In the last ten years significant progress has been made on development and understanding of diamond-like carbon coatings (DLC), which enabled them to become one of the most promising types of protective coatings for various mechanical applications. Their main advantages are low friction, good anti-wear properties, and adhesive protection. However, due to their low surface energy their reactivity with conventional oils and additives is limited, which makes achieving effective boundary lubrication a complex task. For a qualitative step-change that would improve the performance and allow effective optimizing and tailoring of these boundary-lubricated tribological systems, it is necessary to understand the mechanisms of why, how, under which conditions, and with which materials and lubricants, the actual boundary lubrication is possible—if at all. The current results on boundary lubrication of DLC coatings are not many, and are due to the different types of coatings, lubricants and additives used in these studies, often difficult to compare and sometimes even contradictive. However, a recent great demand in different industries to apply the DLC coatings to lubricated systems requires a better understanding of these phenomena and overall performance. Therefore, if we wish to see a more effective continuation of the research and a better understanding of the scattered results, an overview of today’s state-of-the-art of lubricated DLC contacts is needed. In this paper we analyse the behaviors and suggested mechanisms from already-published studies and we summarize the present understanding of the boundary lubrication of DLC coatings. We focus on the DLC-lubricant interaction, thus we analyse only self-mated DLC/DLC contacts in order to avoid the inevitable effects from interactions with other counter materials such as steel.


Keywords: DLC prevleke, maziva, aditivi, mejno mazanje, tribologija

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