Engineering

Graphs Lubricant Makes Car Engines Last Forever

Engines and machines that last forever, probably were a horror vision for manufacturers. And yet car engines and machines in the future almost without friction could run if it is really possible to use graphs as a lubricant.Car engines to settle far less fuel than they are today, the 99-cent approaching the efficiency of electric motors and large machines in factories consume considerably less power than today: such a vision is no longer utopia. The graph is often called the miracle material glides almost seamlessly over other materials.

Graphs Makes Car Engines Last Forever
Graphene Nano band under an electron microscope. Photo: University of Basel

Both theoretical and practical scientist of the University of Basel and the Swiss Federal materials testing and Research Institute (EMPA) have now proven that. Made with graph change over the moving parts of bearings, torque wear to almost zero. Extra lubricant would be superfluous. Car engines as easily endured many hundred thousand kilometers.

Graph is far more tear resistant than steel.

Graph is a special form of carbon. Ideally, it’s a mat, which is only one atom layer thick. It consists of carbon atoms, which are arranged in hexagon and resemble a honeycomb. Graph is tear-resistant than steel, can be used as a semiconductor, is heat-resistant, resistant to radiation and many chemicals and impermeable to gases and liquids. And just extremely slippery.

The researchers in Basel produced different-sized mats from graph. With the tip of an atomic force microscope, that under normal use sampling the surface and makes it so clearly that even individual atoms are visible, they moved the mats over a surface of gold. The necessary force was unimaginably small. It was located between 2 and 200 Piconewtons depending on the direction of pull (a Piconewton is a trillionth Newton, a Newton in turn about one tenth kilogram). This force remained the same in all mat sizes.

Egg cartons to demonstrate

“You can show surface on the basis of egg cartons is that move against each other”, depicts Professor Werner Meyer, who heads the research. “They wedge, the friction is extremely large. “But if you turn it to something, they have only a few points of contact and a much lower friction.”

Graphite Makes Car Engines Last Forever
Lookheed Martin has developed a filter graph, which can separate water and salt. The process requires little energy. Photo: Lockheed Martin

Researchers using a computer simulation proved that they have understood the physical processes of super surface. There, they formed after the surfaces of gold and graphs with mathematical algorithms. The result almost completely coincided with the experiments. “Our results pave the way for the realization of friction-free coatings”, the scientists write in their final report. Now, they want to explore the friction behavior of graphs on the surfaces of other materials.

Graphs can be used not only as a lubricant. U.S. researchers have designed the smallest light of the world with carbon. Graph is ideal as a fire retardant and can protect surfaces from corrosion. Lockheed Martin wants to desalinate sea water filter graph, and the carmaker Tesla to work on a graph-based battery.