3 years ago

Water in Ionic Liquid Lubricants: Friend and Foe

Water in Ionic Liquid Lubricants: Friend and Foe
Michael Urbakh, Alexei A. Kornyshev, Fernando Bresme, Oscar Y. Fajardo
To a greater or lesser extent, most room-temperature ionic liquids (RTILs) absorb water from humid air. Penetration of water into the lubricating nanoscale film may affect its equilibrium structure and dynamic properties and thus influence the ability of RTILs as lubricants to reduce friction between solid surfaces. Here we investigate the impact of hydration on lubrication using nonequilibrium molecular dynamics simulations. Water adsorption changes both the ionic liquid molecules’ orientation and the slip conditions at the solid–liquid interfaces, resulting in a reduced resistance against squeezing-out of the lubricant by an external load. For the same normal load, the film becomes thinner when water is present. We show that even small amounts of water can screen the electrostatic interactions between the ions, making RTILs more “fluid” and compressible and hence less resistant to external stress. The impact that screening has on friction involves several aspects that are systematically analyzed in this paper.

Publisher URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1021/acsnano.7b01835

DOI: 10.1021/acsnano.7b01835

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