Nanoparticles (NPs) can be highly beneficial as additives to lubricating fluids, and the tribotronic response of charged NPs tuned by external fields represents an area of great technological potential. Tribotronic response, however, is expected to be highly size dependent, which represents a significant design challenge. To explore this issue, quartz crystal microbalance and cyclic voltammetry were employed to characterize nanotribological and electrochemical behavior of platinum–nanofluid interfaces formed by aqueous suspensions of different-sized negatively charged titanium dioxide (TiO2) NPs. Suspensions of 5, 40, and 100 nm NPs were all observed to reduced interfacial frictional drag forces upon introduction into pure water in zero field conditions, with reductions for the 40 nm NPs about twice those of 5 nm particles at comparable concentrations. Suspensions of 100 nm NPs produced even greater reductions, but rapidly precipitated from the suspension when left unstirred. NPs were also driven to and from Pt electrode surfaces by applying external electric fields with varying amplitudes and modulation frequencies. For electric fields of sufficient amplitude and duration, the 40 nm TiO2 nanosuspension exhibited tribological properties consistent with a reversible electrophoretic deposition of the NPs, accompanied by changes in the electrochemical attributes and increasing interfacial drag. The 5 nm NP properties were consistent with progressive reductions in interfacial drag forces at the NP–suspension interface linked to field-induced increases in concentration.
Tribotronic and electrochemical properties of platinum–nanofluid interfaces formed by aqueous suspensions of 5 and 40 nm TiO2 nanoparticles
C. M. Seed, B. Acharya, N. Nunn, A. I. Smirnov, J. Krim; Tribotronic and electrochemical properties of platinum–nanofluid interfaces formed by aqueous suspensions of 5 and 40 nm TiO2 nanoparticles. J. Chem. Phys. 21 September 2023; 159 (11): 114705. https://doi.org/10.1063/5.0155504
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