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Two opposing microtribometry approaches have been developed over the last decade to help connect the dots between fundamental and practical tribology measurements: spring-based (e.g. AFM) approaches use low speed, low stiffness, and long relative slip length to quantify friction while quartz crystal microbalance (QCM)-based approaches use high speed, high stiffness, and short relative slip length. Because the friction forces generated in these experiments are attributed to entirely different phenomena, it is unclear if or how the resulting friction forces are related. This study aims to resolve this uncertainty by integrating these distinct techniques into a single apparatus that allows two independent measurements of friction at a single interface. Alumina microspheres were tested against single-crystal MoS2, a model nominally wear-free solid lubricant, and gold, a model metal control, at loads between 0.01 and 1 mN. The combined results from both measurement approaches gave friction coefficients (mean ± standard error) of 0.087 ± 0.007 and 0.27 ± 0.02 for alumina-MoS2 and alumina-gold, respectively. The observed agreement between these methods for two different material systems suggests that friction in microscale contacts can be far less sensitive to external effects from compliance and slip speed than currently thought. Perhaps more importantly, this paper describes and validates a novel approach to closing the 'tribology gap' while demonstrating how integration creates new opportunities for fundamental studies of practical friction.
This article was published in the following journal.
Name: ACS applied materials & interfaces
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