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Origin of Macroscale Superlubricity in Carbon Nanomaterials

March 02, 2018 | 11:00 AM – 12:30 PM
Nedderman Hall 108 | Seminar Flyer

Seminar Speaker

Diana Berman

Department of Materials Science and Engineering, University of North Texas


Tribological systems are an integral part of any moving mechanical assembly, from nanoscale microelectromechanical systems to macroscale automotive and aerospace applications. Minimizing friction and wear-related mechanical failures in order to allow superior performance and long-lasting operation of moving mechanical systems remains the one of today’s greatest challenges. Despite intense research efforts superlubricity, or near zero friction, has seldom been achieved at engineering scales or in practical systems. Much of the difficulty has often been due to the very complex physical, chemical, and mechanical interactions that occur simultaneously at sliding interfaces of mechanical systems.

In this study we evaluate tribological performance of carbon nanomaterials [1-2], and demonstrate realization of superlubricity regime at macroscale in an all-carbon-based ensemble when diamond nanoparticles are mixed with graphene and slide against diamond-like carbon (DLC) surface [3]. We show that during sliding in dry atmosphere, graphene patches wrap around tiny diamond nanoparticles and form nanoscrolls, thus dramatically reducing the contact area with a perfectly incommensurate DLC surface. The coefficient of friction reaches ultralow values (0.004) thus demonstrating the long-lasting superlubric regime. This superlubricity is stable over range of temperature, load, and sliding velocity conditions. Our large-scale molecular dynamic simulations elucidate the mesoscopic link between nanoscale mechanics and macroscopic experimental observations.

The highlighted carbon-based superlubricity provides a fundamental basis for developing universal friction mechanism and offers a direct pathway for designing smart frictionless tribological systems for practical applications of industrial interest.


[1] D. Berman, et al., special issue in Diamond and Related Materials, 54, 91 (2015).
[2] D. Berman, et al., Materials Today 17 (2014) 31-42.
[3] D. Berman, et al., Science, 348 (2015) 1118-1122


Dr. Diana Berman is currently an Assistant Professor in the Department of Materials Science and Engineering at University of North Texas. Dr. Berman received her BS in Applied Physics and Math from Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology and PhD in Physics from North Carolina State University. During her PhD she was working on the first generation of RF MEMS switches and the adhesion and wear associated failures in them. Since 2012 she worked as a Postdoctoral Researcher and then as a Research Associate in the Center for Nanoscale Materials at Argonne National Laboratory on understanding the fundamental mechanisms of superlubricity, the vanishing friction and wear regime.

Dr. Berman’s research interests are in synthesis and characterization of nanostructures, surfaces, and interfaces of ceramic and carbon-based materials for precise control and improvement of their physical properties and performance. Dr. Berman is specifically interested in tribological performance of materials, such as nanoscale contact evolution, interaction of material with environment, and macroscale friction and wear of sliding systems. Dr. Berman has published several high-impact-factor papers with over 1000 citations (in journals Science, Nature Communications, Advanced Functional Materials, ACS Nano, etc.) and given several plenary and invited talks and presentations (2017 APS/CNM Annual Meeting, 2016 Gordon Research Conference in Tribology, 2015 Argonne Tribology Workshop). Her work was recognized with TechConnect National Innovation Awards at 2016 and 2017 TechConnect's annual World Innovation Conferences and Expo.

Dr. Berman has been an organizer and chair of several Conferences and Workshops (1st Tribology Workshop and Poster Presentation of STLE North Texas Chapter, STLE Annual Meetings 2016-2017, NDNC 2014, 2015 APS/CNM User Meeting Workshop, 2014 Argonne Postdoctoral Symposium).