Mechanochemical reactions between adsorbate molecules sheared at tribological interfaces can induce association of adsorbed molecules, forming oligomeric and polymeric products often called tribopolymers). This study revealed the role or effect of surface chemistry of the solid substrate in mechanochemical polymerization reactions. As a model reactant, α-pinene was chosen because it was known to readily form tribopolymers at the sliding interface of stainless steel under vapor-phase lubrication conditions. Eight different substrate materials were tested - palladium, nickel, copper, stainless steel, gold, silicon oxide, aluminum oxide, and diamond-like carbon (DLC). All metal substrates and DLC were initially covered with surface oxide species formed naturally in air or during the oxidative sample cleaning. It was found that the tribopolymerization yield of α-pinene is much higher on the substrates that can chemisorb α-pinene, compared to the ones on which only physisorption occurs. From the load dependence of the tribopolymerization yield, it was found that the surfaces capable of chemisorption give a smaller critical activation volume for the mechanochemical reaction, compared to the ones capable of physisorption only. On the basis of these observations and infrared spectroscopy analyses of the adsorbed molecules and the produced polymers, it was concluded that the mechanochemical reaction mechanisms might be different between chemically reactive and inert surfaces and that the chemical reactivity of the substrate surface greatly influences the tribochemical polymerization reactions of adsorbed molecules.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Materials Science(all)
- Condensed Matter Physics
- Surfaces and Interfaces