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Superlubricity-near zero friction from nanodiamonds | Anirudha Sumant | TEDxNaperville

please join me in doing one little
experiment are you ready
okay so put your hands together and
start rubbing like this you can do it
little better faster come on yes you can
do it okay okay now we can feel your
hands can you feel a little bit warmer
okay and do you know why they’re wrong
yes it’s because of friction so when
you’re sliding your hands it has to
overcome a little bit of resistance
which is because of your skin and that
resistance is called friction so more is
the force and more is the velocity more
is the resistance and that resistance
you know causes energy to dissipate in
the form of heat so whenever there is a
more friction there is more heat but
this heat could not be good for certain
applications or in fact many
applications so the car that you draw
today to come to this event and if it is
internal combustion driven car seventeen
percent of the friction you know the
energy that goes into your engine is
lost and if it is a sum of those
electric vehicle then it reduces to 8.5%
the energy is lost just because of
friction now we can think about how you
know friction is affecting every day of
your life now how about if I told you
something like this is going to change
the lubricant industry so think about
that and we’ll come back to that later
but friction is everywhere and the
friction is everywhere in the world that
we live in and we experience the
friction you know no matter what the
which in a walk of you know life that we
and to reduce the friction you use some
kind of lubricants it could be a
oil-based lubricants or it could be a
solid lubricants like a graphite or
could be some thin films and that helps
to reduce the friction and it’s a huge
industry and if you see by 2025 is going
to be 86 billion dollars it’s a huge
interesting now think about this if you
consider all the mechanical systems in
the world on the planet and which have
the rotating sliding rolling motions and
somehow if we can improve their
performance just by 1.3 percent then
that will lead to saving about 173
million barrels of oil and that is equal
to about 12 billions of dollars so just
the improvement in 1.3 percent gives you
twelve billion dollars selling it not to
mention you know how many barrels of oil
that you are saving that otherwise going
you know into the environment because
oil is used as a lubricant everywhere so
all over the world people are looking at
finding a better lubricant that is not
only going to be a environmental
friendly but it will reduce friction
reduce wear and it will be very cheap
and it will last longer and there are
millions and billions of dollars being
spent in finding that perfect lubricant
and thermal National Lab we have
different approach we look at the things
at the fundamental level down to the
atomistic level to see if we can change
the things at the atomic level that will
have impact at much larger scale like
macroscopic scale in fact you know there
is a name for the branch of science
which does precisely that and it’s
called nanotechnology in other words
science of tiny things
now you may ask how tiny is a tiny and I
think that can be explained by this
beautiful picture of a family having you
know nice time on a sunny beach so if
you look carefully at this picture
you’ll see the diameter of the Sun is
1.4 billion meters and then if you look
at the height of a person is about you
know 2 meters and then if you look at
you know the grain of the sand and
that’s varies between find a thousand
nanometers to 1mm depending upon whether
you are in Hawaii or in the Florida so
and maybe you know you’re using some
kind of sunscreen lotion and that
contains titanium dioxide nanoparticles
about the size of 100 nanometers and you
know the water in the ocean the diameter
of these water molecules about 0.275
nanometers now you’ve got some idea
about the lens scale so the nanometer is
a billionth of a meter and add this nano
scale things are completely weird they
they don’t you know look as if that you
see it and they behave completely
different then we look at it so because
of the such a small size you know each
as much large surface area than a bulk
and that the surface interacts with the
environment and that’s why at such a
tiny scale the material behaves
completely different and that’s called
nanotechnology now how this
nanotechnology is helping us to build
the bed of lubricants of the future now
you might have used this device at the
elementary school I’m not talking about
Apple Pangaea this is a graphite pencil
and if you look at the tip apex of this
graphite pencil and then look at you
know for example comparison tear the
grain of sand and then if you took it
under the optical microscope and zoom in
by thousand times then you will see this
beautiful structure
four nice layers of this graphite and
stacked together millions of these
layers and they are held together by
very weak you know
forces an atomic force and that’s called
Wonderwall force and when you’re writing
it you know onto the paper then just the
friction between this pencil and a paper
is enough to dislodge or to remove some
of these you know graphitic layers and
that’s how you can write it so it can
take a little more sophisticated
technique electron microscope that can
you know blow up even higher
magnification like two hundred thousand
times and then you see these beautiful
atomic planes of the graphite separated
by distance point three four nanometers
now interesting thing happened in 2004
two scientists from University of
Manchester in UK we are not only able to
separate this one atom thin sheet of a
graphite just by using scotch tape of
course they had to do it you know many
times but they were able to measure its
properties and then they able to measure
the properties they were amazed because
just one single sheet of this graphite
has completely different properties than
the bulk graphite so in other words if
we consider this is a bulk graphite like
a parent material and then let’s
consider this you know one sheet of a
graphite is a child graphite then this
child graphite is much smarter you know
much better than this parent makes sense
if I say this to my son he would be like
duh so anyway they call this material
graphene and it has amazing properties
it’s like 200 times stronger than steel
it’s carry the heat five times better
than copper and it’s one of the best
conductor of electricity these are the
only three four operas I’m telling you
there are many such properties as much
better than the bulk graphite and
because of this this material actually
got you know these people got Nobel
Prize in Physics in 2010 and then later
on they found out that there are also
other layered material that have kind of
similar property like molybdenum
disulfide and so on in fact that gives
to the birth of a new branch of physics
called physics of two dimensional
materials so in this case you have two
diamonds and that means you have only
surface you know on there is no bulk so
the electron going on to the surface
will no see any obstruction it will just
you know pass by where as if that
electron is in the bulk material like
three-dimensional material then it will
be influenced by the other atoms around
it so we were looking at this graphene
which is fundamentally different you
know in terms of mechanical properties
as compared to the graphite and then
what we saw is that in case of a
graphite when you use it as a lubricant
between two sliding surfaces it tends to
agglomerate and sometimes it even
upbraid the material but in case of a
graphene which is just two-dimensional
material it slides nicely like a deck of
car and then it reduces the friction
drastically and also the wear so what we
have found is that this graphene is not
only environmentally friendly but it’s
you know produces this five times less
friction and 10,000 times lower wear
isn’t that amazing I mean it’s already
starting looking like a
you know an ideal lubricant and most
important it works in humid air and dry
here perfectly fine there is no solid
lubricant that can work in any kind of
environment so this was already back
through but we wanted to go one step
beyond I wanted to see can we go to the
fundamental limit can we reduce the
friction and wear to near zero and
that’s where we combine graphene with an
another cousin from the carbon family
diamond but in the form of nano diamonds
by the way these nano diamonds are
produced in a very different way you
actually take you know the TNT
explosives that wrap it around the
graphite and then throw into the
stainless steel chamber and boom and
because of the very high pressure and
temperature producing the shockwave the
graphite turns into diamond so when we
combine this graphene and nano diamond
together what we saw is the super
lubricity and that’s where we saw the
friction is going down the near zero and
that was very amazing to see that for
the first time in the world we were
seeing the friction and we’re down to
zero at macroscopic scale now how does
that happen and remember this picture
that you have seen before is what you’re
looking at is the brown ball is a nano
diamond and the green carpet looking
things is a graphene and you know this
graphene likes to wrap around and then
scroll nicely and form you know this
kind of very nice nano scale ball
bearing and this nano scale ball bearing
you can imagine you know they are
sliding onto the surface millions
millions of those and reducing friction
and wear so that was a most fundamental
breakthrough that we have seen that can
be used you know anywhere there is oil
and once you replace the oil with this
nice little break and of course you have
to use it in a dry environment but if
you’re you know getting a low friction
and low wear down to zero it’s
completely possible
now the breakthroughs like this
really changes our thinking and it’s
really important that those
breakthroughs doesn’t remind us not
remain in the lab but go outside and
that’s how we started collaborating with
the industry to see how this technology
could be commercialized further and in
this case in case of oil and gas
industries what we have seen is that the
oil is extracted from deep inside the
ocean floor and then you know they saw
oil and natural gas when they drill
inside very you know very much deeper
land then it has very high pressure and
temperature so you need a seal there’s a
device called mechanical seals that
protects the release or the leakage of
the gases into the environment and if
you look at the total release of
greenhouse gases into the environment
just in the US alone is about 2 million
metric tons and that’s a big staggering
so with this solid lubrication
technology we believe that this could be
reduce further and then can increase the
lifespan of you know this lubricants
technology to use it even for you no
further use and make this kind of
platform safer now in case of in case of
this mess and metal stamping industry
and this is also used in making your car
chassis in fact every you know industry
has to go through this process to make
your car chassis and at it happens you
get higher temperatures so there’s a
metal metal stamping that happens and in
case of a friction that produces a
weaker point and that’s really you know
directly affect the safety of the
passenger in case of an accident or
impact so here also we believe that use
of this solid lubrication technology
will improve the performance will reduce
the friction and will affect directly
improving the safety of the past
as well as improving the production
capability at the much lower cost
the another example is really in the
wind turbine technology and one of the
problem in this case is really to change
this kind of bearings is which are
mostly oil lubricated and the lifetime
of this oil lubricated bearing is a
problem so whenever there is a problem
with this bearing you how to you know
completely revamp this and there is huge
amount of efforts and money involved so
by using a solid abrasion technology we
think that you know it will not only
increase the lifespan of this bearing
but also reduce the cost and will
improve the efficiency so disruptive
technologies change the world and in
this case what we have seen is that the
lubricant industry it’s poised to take a
next giant leap into the future that
will change the course of the lubricant
industry forever
most importantly these lubricants will
be green lubricants and will also help
to keep our planet cleaner and safer
thank you [Applause]
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