Tribological application and mechanism of epicuticular wax
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The plant cuticle is a complex mixture of omnipresent, commonly monofunctional, fatty acid derivatives and taxon-specific, generally bifunctional, specialty compounds. This study explored expanded applications for these substances. Four types of plant cuticles were distilled from leaves and the resulting lipid mixtures were analyzed using gas chromatography-mass spectrometry. These were then used as additives for a synthetic ester lubricant. A reciprocating friction and wear testing machine was utilized to investigate the resulting tribological properties. The worn surfaces of the lower discs were observed and analyzed using optical microscopy and time-of-flight secondary ion mass spectrometry. The results reveal that cuticular waxes can modify the friction properties of the base oil. Furthermore, cuticular waxes demonstrate better performance when compared to the commercially available additive molybdenum dithiocarbamates. A protective adsorption film was identified as the reason for the improved friction reduction and anti-wear properties of the lubricant on the friction pair. This study provides a reference for the study of new types of non-sulfur, phosphorus, and other active element additives and demonstrates considerable potential for the economical utilization of plant leaf waxes.
Keywordsepicuticular wax tribological application GC-MS TOF-SIMS adsorption
The authors appreciate the financial support for this academic work from the National Natural Science Foundation of China (No. 51575181) and Beijing Natural Science Foundation (No. 2172053).
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