Low-Friction Adsorbed Layers of a Triblock Copolymer Additive in Oil-Based Lubrication

Shinji Yamada, Ami Fujihara, Shin Ichi Yusa, Tadao Tanabe, Kazue Kurihara

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Citations (Scopus)


The tribological properties of the dilute solution of an ABA triblock copolymer, poly(11-acrylamidoundecanoic acid)-block-poly(stearyl methacrylate)-block-poly(11-acrylamidoundecanoic acid (A5S992A5), in poly(α-olefin) (PAO) confined between mica surfaces were investigated using the surface forces apparatus (SFA). Friction force was measured as a function of applied load and sliding velocity, and the film thickness and contact geometry during sliding were analyzed using the fringes of equal chromatic order (FECO) in the SFA. The results were contrasted with those of confined PAO films; the effects of the addition of A5S992A5 on the tribological properties were discussed. The thickness of the A5S992A5/PAO system varied with time after surface preparation and with repetitive sliding motions. The thickness was within the range from 40 to 70 nm 1 day after preparation (the Day1 film), and was about 20 nm on the following day (the Day2 film). The thickness of the confined PAO film was thinner than 1.4 nm, indicating that the A5S992A5/PAO system formed thick adsorbed layers on mica surfaces. The friction coefficient was about 0.03 to 0.04 for the Day1 film and well below 0.01 for the Day2 film, which were 1 or 2 orders of magnitude lower than the values for the confined PAO films. The time dependent changes of the adsorbed layer thickness and friction properties should be caused by the relatively low solubility of A5S992A5 in PAO. The detailed analysis of the contact geometry and friction behaviors implies that the particularly low friction of the Day2 film originates from the following factors: (i) shrinkage of the A5S992A5 molecules (mainly the poly(stearyl methacrylate) blocks) that leads to a viscoelastic properties of the adsorbed layers; and (ii) the intervening PAO layer between the adsorbed polymer layers that constitutes a high-fluidity sliding interface. Our results suggest that the block copolymer having relatively low solubility in a lubricant base oil is effective at forming low-friction adsorbed layers in oil-based lubrication.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)12140-12147
Number of pages8
Issue number44
Publication statusPublished - 2015 Nov 10
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Materials Science(all)
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Surfaces and Interfaces
  • Spectroscopy
  • Electrochemistry


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