V. Borisov, A. Martonick, and P. Rudenko
TriboTEX, Washington, United States
Keywords: protective coatings, friction, wear, efficiencyTriboTEX synthesizes two-sided nano-flakes that form in-situ surface coatings in lubricated mechanical systems to reduce friction, improve efficiency, and reverse accumulated wear. Coating formation is driven by the inherent structure of the engineered nano-flake. Each face is engineered with different functionality; one is sticky while the other is slick. The mechanism for in-situ coating formation is mechanical, facilitated by normal forces at contacting component interfaces; aided by the thermal energy produced by friction. Using bulk lubricant as a carrier fluid the nano-flakes circulate through the mechanical system attaching, particle-by-particle, to metallic surfaces of contacting components with the sticky face. The preferential orientation of nano-flake attachment is engineered to leave the slick face pointing outward; resulting in the formation of a lubricious, protective coating during the course of normal operation. The coating forms a layer of finite thickness onto worn surfaces effectively reversing accumulated wear to rebuild tolerances with the need for costly overhauls and equipment down time. An aftermarket consumer product that improves functional efficiency and increases operational lifetimes in light-duty vehicle engines was launched by TriboTEX. The next phase of research is realizing the potential benefits of in-situ, restorative coatings for industrial gearboxes, heavy machinery, and military hardware.