Frictional performance of silica microspheres

Steven G. Vilt, Nathaniel Martin, Clare McCabe, G. Kane Jennings*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

23 Citations (Scopus)


We present a fundamental study of the frictional performance of silica microspheres, either 4, 2, or 0.5 μm in diameter, on a silicon substrate. The tribological properties of these rolling systems were measured with a ball-on-flat tribometer at various loads. The frictional performance of the rolling systems is found to be highly dependent on load and sphere diameter. Rolling motion was confirmed by imaging the surface of microsphere systems that have been coated with a thin layer of gold. In addition, the surface energy of the lubrication scheme was altered using coatings containing octadecyltrichlorosilane or (tridecafluoro-1,1,2,2-tetrahydrooctyl)-1- trichlorosilane precursors.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)180-186
Number of pages7
JournalTribology International
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2011


  • Ball bearings
  • Friction
  • Micro-/nano-scale friction
  • Rolling element

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Mechanics of Materials
  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Surfaces and Interfaces
  • Surfaces, Coatings and Films


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