Effects of Gas Adsorption in Nano-asperity Tribological Contacts

Project: Research project

Project Details


CMS-0625493: Effects of Gas Adsorption in Nano-asperity Tribological Contacts

Seong H. Kim

Department of Chemical Engineering, The Pennsylvania State University

The molecular ordering and thickness of the adsorbed layer on solid is the core problem in surface science and engineering. In the previous NSF project (CMS-0408369), it is found that the structural ordering of the adsorbed water molecules on clean silicon oxide surfaces play key roles in tribological properties of the nano-asperity contact. It is also demonstrated that the equilibrium adsorption process of alcohol can be utilized for continuous supply of molecules to form a few Angstrom thick alcohol film which shows lubricating effects for nano-asperity silicon oxide contacts. The objectives of the proposed research are to (a) understand fundamentals of the gas adsorption effects in nanotribology and (b) develop the gas-phase lubrication process for applications to microelectromechanical systems (MEMS). Although the main focus of the proposed research is the tribological properties of the solid-gas interfaces, the fundamental knowledge attained from this research will have profound impacts on nanotechnology, biomaterials, catalysis, environmental science, etc. where interfacial phenomena dominate the system performances. This research covers from scientific fundamentals such as basic physical chemistry and thermodynamics to the engineering applications to MEMS; this will provide multi-disciplinary trainings to students involved in this project.

Effective start/end date10/1/069/30/09


  • National Science Foundation: $289,250.00


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