Friction impacts motion, hence the need to control friction forces. Currently, this is accomplished by mechanistic means or lubrication, but experiments conducted by researchers at the U.S. Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory have uncovered a way of controlling friction on ionic surfaces at the nanoscale using electrical stimulation and ambient water vapor.
The research, which demonstrates a new physical effect, was undertaken at the Center for Nanophase Materials Sciences, a DOE Office of Science User Facility at ORNL, and is published in the journal Scientific Reports.
“Our finding can have a significant technological impact on applications for both macroscopic and nanoscale devices,” said lead author Evgheni Strelcov. “Decreasing or increasing nanoscale friction at will and thus controlling mechanical energy losses and wear of a microelectromechanical system’s parts has enormous implications for applied energy research and opens a new vista for fundamental science studies.” [Read more…]