Unexpected friction in superfluids

Physicists at Aalto University have discovered unexpected friction while rotating superfluid helium.

Understanding the causes and effects of the friction could pave the way for explorations into the composition of neutron stars and our universe. Here on Earth, the Aalto researchers’ results will be invaluable for curtailing...Read More »

High strength wear and corrosion resistant alluminum alloy developed

Researchers have demonstrated how to create a super-strong aluminum alloy that rivals the strength of stainless steel, an advance with potential industrial applications.

“Most lightweight aluminum alloys are soft and have inherently low mechanical strength, which hinders more widespread industrial application,” said Xinghang Zhang,...Read More »


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“Houston, We Have a Podcast” is the official podcast of the NASA Johnson Space Center, the home of human spaceflight, stationed in Houston, Texas. We bring space right to you! On this podcast, you’ll learn from some of the brightest minds of America’s space agency as they discuss topics in...Read More »

Soft material inspired by grasshoppers for better electrode adhesive

ETH researchers have developed an adhesive electrode for health monitoring. A new spin-off plans to bring it to market this year.

Anyone who has ever had an electrocardiogram – for example, to check their heart fitness – will be familiar with the electrodes that...Read More »

New Ti3N4 coating developed: semiconducting, wear resistant

A team of experimental and computational scientists led by Carnegie’s Tim Strobel and Venkata Bhadram have synthesized a long sought-after form of titanium nitride, Ti3N4, which has promising mechanical and optoelectronic properties.

Standard titanium nitride (TiN), with a one-to-one ratio of titanium and nitrogen, exhibits a crystal...Read More »

The Snowflake that Became Famous

In recent days, the media has reported on a new type of snowflake, the so-called trunkstar snowflake, not previously observed by scientists. Behind the discovery is a completely new method of depicting snowflakes made at the Luleå University of Technology.

– In the test, where we found the trunkstar snowflake there...Read More »

Replicate body parts with 3D printing

A new 3D printing technique allows researchers to replicate biological structures, which could be used for tissue regeneration and replica organs.

Imperial College London researchers have developed a new method for creating 3D structures using cryogenics (freezing) and 3D printing techniques.

This builds on previous...Read More »

Propel micro-robots using shape-changes and friction in liquids

• Physics 10, 128

A sphere that alternately collapses and re-inflates makes a simple device that can propel itself and could work on the microscale for medical purposes.

Microscopic objects that can propel themselves through fluids could have many uses, such as targeted drug delivery in the bloodstream....Read More »

Gecko adhesion principles for robots

Gecko Adhesion Technology Moves Closer To Industrial Uses

Michael Varenberg, an assistant professor in Georgia Tech’s George W. Woodruff School of Mechanical Engineering.

A gecko scampering up a wall or across a ceiling has long fascinated...Read More »

Improved triboelectric nanogenerators developed

New world standard in nano electricity generators

University of Alberta researchers have developed a new way to produce electrical power; power that could be used charge small devices used to monitor pipelines and medical implants, to wearing electronics. The discovery sets a new world...Read More »

Material for new nanoelectromechanical devices

By Justin Eure

A team of scientists from the U.S. Department of Energy’s Brookhaven National Laboratory and the University of Connecticut have developed a customizable nanomaterial that combines metallic strength with a foam-like ability to compress and spring back.

“We engineered materials that can store and...Read More »

Improving sport footwear with graphene

A University of Manchester partnership is launching a revolutionary world-first in the sports footwear market following a unique collaboration with graphene experts.

British sportswear brand inov-8 has teamed up with The University of Manchester to become the first-ever company to incorporate graphene into running...Read More »

The Next Mars Rover Wheels Designed To Prevent Wear

The Curiosity Rover has made some incredible discoveries during the five years it has been operating on the surface of Mars. And in the course of conducting its research, the rover has also accrued some serious mileage. However, it certainly came as a surprise when during a routine examinations...Read More »

Droplet friction is similar to solid friction

Researchers of the Max Planck Institute for Polymer Research have investigated friction of liquid droplets on surfaces. A larger force is needed to set in motion stationary droplets than to keep moving droplets in motion. This behavior is already known for solids on surfaces. For the case of...Read More »

Transparent, flexible solar cells

Researchers develop a novel technique using graphene to create solar cells they can mount on surfaces ranging from glass to plastic to paper and tape.

Imagine a future in which solar cells are all around us — on windows and walls, cell phones, laptops, and more. A new flexible, transparent solar...Read More »

MIT: use recycled plastic to reinforce concrete

Discarded plastic bottles could one day be used to build stronger, more flexible concrete structures, from sidewalks and street barriers, to buildings and bridges, according to a new study.

MIT undergraduate students have found that, by exposing plastic flakes to small, harmless doses of gamma radiation, then pulverizing the flakes into...Read More »

Highly elastic shape-memory material discovered

UConn materials science and engineering researcher Seok-Woo Lee and his colleagues have discovered super-elastic shape-memory properties in a material that could be applied for use as an actuator in the harshest of conditions, such as outer space, and might be the first in a whole new class...Read More »

Metal with Memory: Shaping the Future of Aviation

While aeronautics researchers across the globe continue to develop technologies that will make air travel more efficient, more sustainable and safer, there is a group of NASA researchers who are altering the long-held view that wings have to stick straight out from an aircraft and stay that way.

Through NASA’s Convergent...Read More »

Improved bonding of low friction PTFE

The convenience of non-stick, Teflon-coated cookware is appreciated in kitchens worldwide, particularly by anyone doing the washing up. The chemical making up Teflon, polytetrafluoroethylene or PTFE, is one of the slipperiest materials known. Outside the kitchen, the low-friction surfaces and high chemical resistance of PTFE are essential to...Read More »

“Peel-and-go” printable structures fold themselves

Expanding polymer enables self-folding without heating or immersion in water.

As 3-D printing has become a mainstream technology, industry and academic researchers have been investigating printable structures that will fold themselves into useful three-dimensional shapes when heated or immersed in water.

In a paper appearing in the American Chemical Society’s journal Applied Materials...Read More »

MIT: surface with reconfigurable texture developed

Polymer material produced by a 3-D printer includes soft, flexible material (clear or lighter tone) with particles of hard material (black) embedded, in predetermined arrangements. When the material is compressed, its surface become bumpy in a pattern determined by the hard particles. Photo: Felice Frankel

MIT research produces soft...Read More »

Promising innovation in stain resistance

When you spill pasta sauce on your favorite shirt but there is no trace of it after being washed, you can thank oleophobicity, a resistance to oil commonly applied to textiles.

That resistance, however, comes at a price. The coating that makes textiles oil resistant is fluorine-based and breaks down into...Read More »

Researchers Develop New Tool to Evaluate Icephobic Materials

When ice builds up on aircraft bodies or engines, it can create a serious situation in flight. The shape of the wing can change, affecting the aerodynamics of the aircraft, and engine icing can result in a stall.

While NASA has spent decades studying the effects of aircraft icing, aerospace researchers...Read More »

Detecting impurities on 3D components

The smallest of details can have huge consequences. For instance, tiny particles of dirt clinging to the surface of components during the production process. The oil pan in vehicle engines is a typical example. If the process lubricant contains impurities that stick to the areas where the sealant will be...Read More »

Bradley Olsen: Designing polymers with novel features

Chemical engineer seeks to develop and understand materials that behave in radically new ways.

Tiny sensors made of antibodies, protein nano-spheres that can clean up toxic spills, and gels that could be injected into a wound to initiate healing are just a few of the innovations emerging from Bradley Olsen’s lab...Read More »

World’s most powerful large-size bearing test centre in operation

SKF has a broad portfolio of extremely powerful software for the calculation and simulation of all types of rolling bearings. Among these are highly complex systems, which can investigate bearing behaviour in a virtual environment: With the...Read More »

Band Gaps, Made to Order

Control is a constant challenge for materials scientists, who are always seeking the perfect material — and the perfect way of treating it — to induce exactly the right electronic or optical activity required for a given application.

One key challenge to modulating activity in a semiconductor is controlling its band...Read More »

Glassy Carbon manufactured now with Less Heat

Carbon nanotubes lower the transformation temperature of glassy carbon, possibly aiding manufacturers, MIT researchers report.

Last winter, MIT researchers discovered that a phenol-formaldehyde polymer transformed into a glassy carbon material in a process similar to baking reaches its best combination of high strength and low density at 1,000 degrees Celsius (1,832 degrees Fahrenheit). Now they...Read More »

Gold Nanoparticles to enhance the accuracy of Biomedical Tests

UCSB researchers use gold nanoparticles to enhance the accuracy of biomedical tests, thereby eliminating false positive results

Few experiences invoke as much anxiety as a call from your doctor saying “you need to come back for more tests.” Your imagination goes wild and suddenly a routine medical screening becomes a...Read More »

Rare earth oxides make water-repellent surfaces that last

Ceramic forms of hydrophobic materials could be far more durable than existing coatings or surface treatments.

Water-shedding surfaces that are robust in harsh environments could have broad applications in many industries including energy, water, transportation, construction and medicine. For example, condensation of water is a crucial part of many industrial processes,...Read More »

New lubricated mussel-proof coating

It all began with a bet.

At a conference in Italy in 2013, Nicolas Vogel, then a postdoctoral fellow in Joanna Aizenberg’s lab at the Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering at Harvard University and Harvard’s John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences (Read More »

“Active” surfaces control what’s on them

Researchers develop treated surfaces that can actively control how fluids or particles move.
Researchers at MIT and in Saudi Arabia have developed a new way of making surfaces that can actively control how fluids or particles move across them. The work might enable new kinds of biomedical or microfluidic devices,...Read More »

Mystery about Revolutionary Lithium-Oxygen Batteries Clarified

Study explains conflicting results from other experiments, may lead to batteries with more energy per pound.

Battery researchers agree that one of the most promising possibilities for future battery technology is the lithium-air (or lithium-oxygen) battery, which could provide three times as much power for a given weight as today’s leading...Read More »

Graphene based solid lubricant reduces friction and wear

This composite image depicts the makeup and performance of a new non-liquid lubricant developed by researchers at Purdue University. (Purdue University image/ Abdullah A. Alazemi) Download image.

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. – Researchers have created a new type of...Read More »

The Science of Friction on Graphene


Sliding on flexible graphene surfaces has been uncharted territory until now,

Graphene, a two-dimensional form of carbon sheets just one atom thick, has been the subject of widespread research, in large part because of its unique combination of strength, electrical conductivity, and chemical stability. But despite many years of study, some...Read More »

Metallic Glass Gears for NASA Robots

Throw a baseball, and you might say it’s all in the wrist.
For robots, it’s all in the gears.

Gears are essential for precision robotics. They allow limbs to turn smoothly and stop on command; low-quality gears cause limbs to jerk or shake. If you’re designing a robot to scoop samples...Read More »

Zeroing in on ZDDP tribofilm growth

Models for the stress-activated growth of tribofilms from ZDDP were modified to include wear.

TWO RECENT CUTTING EDGE ARTICLES reported on work that showed the growth rates of tribofilms from ZDDP were accelerated by contact stress1 or interfacial shear2 under conditions in which the temperature rise caused by rubbing was negligible....Read More »

Engineering on a Blue Streak

UD researchers pioneer greener way to create interwoven polymers with blue light.

A pair of engineers at the University of Delaware has developed a process to form interwoven polymer networks more easily, quickly and sustainably than traditional methods allow. Their secret ingredient? Blue light.

Abhishek Shete, graduate research assistant in materials science...Read More »

Timber bridges are back

Timber bridges can in the future begin to be built on a larger scale in Germany. That was one of the news from the international conference on timber bridges, held last week in Skellefteå.
Skellefteå was the place for the third international conference on timber bridges. Luleå University of Technology...Read More »

Alloy Strength is Improved by Tiny Additions

Nanoparticles improve the strength of metallic alloys.

Superalloys are the wonder materials of metallurgy. By fine-tuning their composition, scientists can increase mechanical strength and improve resistance to corrosion and high-temperature shape changes. A*STAR researchers have shown that adding nanoparticles can make these materials even stronger.

The Disarming Power of Foam

When an improvised explosive device is found lying on the ground, there are several ways to neutralize it. Perhaps the most effective method is to pop a tent over the explosive, then pump the tent full of an aqueous foam. When the explosive is subsequently exploded, the foam will take...Read More »

'Space Fabric' Links Fashion and Engineering

Raul Polit Casillas grew up around fabrics. His mother is a fashion designer in Spain, and, at a young age, he was intrigued by how materials are used for design.

Now, as a systems engineer at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, he is still very much in the world...Read More »

Peering at the Crystal Structure of Lithium

Elemental metals usually form simple, close-packed crystalline structures. Though lithium (Li) is considered a typical simple metal, its crystal structure at ambient pressure and low temperature remains unknown.

Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) researchers recently came up with a technique to obtain structural information for Li at conditions where...Read More »

Real time tire wear measurement using printed sensors - Duke University

Carbon nanotubes bring tire wear monitoring into the car

By Ken Kingery

Electrical engineers at Duke University have invented an inexpensive printed sensor that can monitor the tread of car tires in real time, warning drivers when the rubber meeting the road has grown dangerously thin.

If adopted, the device will increase...Read More »

Assessing the strength of wind turbine steel

Wind turbines rise into the sky on enormous feet. To ensure these giants can reliably generate electricity for many years to come, the iron processing industry must manufacture their massive components in a stable, resource-saving and yet cost-effective way. However, material inclusions such as dross are often unavoidable...Read More »

Hard, but highly elastic form of carbon developed

Washington, DC— A team including several Carnegie scientists has developed a form of ultrastrong, lightweight carbon that is also elastic and electrically conductive. A material with such a unique combination of properties could serve a wide variety of applications from aerospace engineering to military armor.

Carbon is...Read More »

Super strong synthetic spider silk produced from wood cellulose

The strongest yet hybrid silk fibers have been created by scientists in Sweden using all renewable resources. Combining spider silk proteins with nanocellulose from wood, the process offers a low-cost and scalable way to make bioactive materials for a wide range of medical uses.

Bone-like structure of steel to fight fatigue

Metal fatigue can lead to abrupt and sometimes catastrophic failures in parts that undergo repeated loading, or stress. It’s a major cause of failure in structural components of everything from aircraft and spacecraft to bridges and powerplants. As a result, such structures are...Read More »

Harvesting friction energy in self-sustaining water motion sensors

A recent study, affiliated with UNIST has engineered a self-sustaining sensor platform to continuously monitor the surrounding environment without having an external power source.

This research has been led by the team of Professor Jaehyouk Choi of Electrical and Computer Engineering at UNIST in collaboration with Professor Wonjoon Choi of Mechanical...Read More »

Triboelectric generators can be used to improve mass spectroscopy sensors

Triboelectric nanogenerators convert mechanical energy harvested from the environment to electricity for powering small devices such as sensors or for recharging consumer electronics. Now, researchers have harnessed these devices to improve the charging of molecules in a way...Read More »

Triboelectricity to power your watch

Despite the many advances in portable electronic devices, one thing remains constant: the need to plug them into a wall socket to recharge. Now researchers, reporting in the journal ACS Nano, have developed a light-weight, paper-based device inspired by the Chinese and Japanese arts of paper-cutting that can...Read More »

Environmentally friendly oleophobic coating for your clothes

When you spill pasta sauce on your favorite shirt but there is no trace of it after being washed, you can thank oleophobicity, a resistance to oil commonly applied to textiles.

That resistance, however, comes at a price. The coating that makes textiles oil resistant is fluorine-based and breaks down into...Read More »

Fight friction with plasma

For road vehicles, wind resistance increases fuel consumption. But one way to fight wind is with wind. Researchers in Sweden are experimenting with reducing drag on trucks with electric wind devices that mimic the way vortex generators increase lift on airplane wings.

You might have noticed them...Read More »

Cloning Gecko's toes to control adhesion and friction

On April 7th, 2017, Prof. Yu Tian and Prof. Yong Li from the State Key Laboratory of Tribology, Department of Mechanical Engineering at Tsinghua University published a research article entitled with “Controllable Anisotropic Dry Adhesion in Vacuum: Gecko Inspired Wedged Surface Fabricated with Ultraprecision Diamond Cutting” in Advanced Functional Materials....Read More »

Wear Resistant Self Healing Hydrophobic Coatings

Unbreakable: Water-Repellent Coating | MSE Anish Tuteja

Anish Tuteja, Associate Professor of Materials Science and Engineering and Associate Professor of Macromolecular Science and Engineering, and his research group have created...Read More »

Predicting the limits of friction

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Normally, bare metal sliding against bare metal is not a good thing. Friction will destroy pistons in an engine, for example, without lubrication.

Sometimes, however, functions require metal on metal contact, such as in headphone jacks or electrical systems in wind turbines. Still, friction causes wear and wear...Read More »

ZDDP Tribofilm: Durability and Chemistry

The classical lubrication theory suggests the use of oil to reduce wear by the development of a thin separating lubricating film. However, the trends in the industry dictate miniaturization of the mechanical devices with a concurrent increase in the load carrying capacity. This in turn brings the surfaces to a...Read More »

Tuning dry friction with micro-honeycomb patterns

Controlling friction is one of the top priorities for many tribologists. The friction in bearings has to be reduced to increase the energy efficiency of numerous devices, while friction in transmission systems has to be increased for effective power transmission.

Recently, a joined group of researchers from...Read More »

Graphene tribolayer adsorption onto steel via perpendicular lattice alignment


Owing to its phenomenal physical properties, graphene continues to be investigated as a new lubricating agent. Recent studies have focused on graphene’s ability to lubricate interacting steel surfaces by its ease of shear capability. Certain graphene-containing lubricating solutions have proven to reduce steel-on-steel wear by four orders of magnitude, with...Read More »

Triboelectricity - a big renewable energy source

Tribo-electric effect is an effect of electricity generation, when two dissimilar materials come into contact and electrons migrate from one to another. Most of us have observed the tribo-electric effect in their life when rubbed a balloon at the birthday party against someone’s hair. The effect was the base for...Read More »

Evolving friction of graphene

Two-dimensional materials are defined as substances with the thickness less than few nanometers. While there may exist around 500 of various 2D materials, the first discovered 2D material is graphene. Graphene is flexible, transparent, possesses higher conductivity than copper and is stronger than steel –  no...Read More »

In Situ Generation of Graphene

Graphene has unique properties and is being extensively used in various applications. It got a deserved attention in the field of tribology as well and was reported to lead to the states of superlubricity (see Macroscale superlubricity, Reduce the Friction with Graphene Balls, Superlubricity...Read More »

Decrease Friction with Hydrogen Ions

Currently, a large portion of consumed energy is used to overcome friction. Design of low friction components is a primary goal in building a sustainable society. Superlubricity, the state of ultralow friction (<0.01), has already been achieved in various systems ranging from atomic to microscales. In these...Read More »

The Mechanism of Glycerol Superlubricity

Glycerol is a highly viscous liquid, generating friction coefficient of 0.1 and up for bearing steels in boundary lubrication. In full film EHL, pure glycerol generates high friction as well and therefore is rarely used as a lubricant. It is, on the other hand, non-toxic and bio degradable, hence...Read More »

Superlubricity of nanodiamonds glycerol colloidal solution

Earlier we reported about superlubricity achieved with a mixture of water and 30 [wt%] glycerol by researchers from Tsinghua University, Beijing. The same investigators just published a paper using this as a base lubricant and improving its wear resistance by creating a colloidal solution...Read More »

Superlubricity between steel surfaces with glycerol/water mixture lubricant

It is estimated that the energy lost due to friction in industrialized countries equals to approximately 5% of their gross national products and it is clear, that reducing the friction is highly desirable.

The classical lubrication mechanism of the friction reduction has reached its fundamental limit (the friction of 0.01-0.04) and...Read More »

Antiwear tribofilm growth - AFM study

In a wide range of tribological components, the lubricant is not capable of separating the surfaces and areas of metal-to-metal contact occurs. However, the metal-to-metal contact area can be minimized by the action of additives, which are widely used in the lubricants. They proved to form protective tribofilms on the...Read More »

Superlubricity in graphene nanoribbon - gold interface

Superlubricity is a phenomenon of vanishing friction, which can be used to increase the efficiency of many mechanical devices and reduce the energy costs. The phenomenon is not well understood and mostly is observed in nano and micro scales. A further understanding is needed to transfer the superlubricity into the...Read More »


Reduce the Friction with Graphene Balls

Tiny, sub-micron sized particles are frequently used as additives in the lubricants to improve their frictional and wear behavior. These particles, due to their size, can enter the contact and protect the surfaces from the direct contact in the cases when the base lubricant is not capable of doing it,...Read More »

Ice friction and frictional heat

As it was already pointed in the recent post, the friction on ice is an important topic and its typical low value is attributed to the formation of the water film.

Despite our everyday life experience, at low speeds, the ice friction can be quite large. For example, at the...Read More »

Experimental measurement of adhesion and friction in mesoscopic graphite contacts

Two-dimensional materials, such as graphite, expose an intriguing, but poorly understood low-friction behavior  – superlubricity. Various aspects of superlubricity have been addressed by researchers, mostly based on theoretical considerations, however, accurate experimental measurements of adhesion and friction in 2D materials have not been performed until recently.

A team at IBM Research-Zurich...Read More »

Macroscale superlubricity


Friction rises when bodies come to contact and start relative sliding. This phenomenon occurs in many mechanical systems and it is estimated that over 30% of the fuel in cars is consumed to overcome friction. Taking into account the ongoing battle with the global heating, reduction of these losses is...Read More »