diamond-like carbon, graphene, ionic liquids, space irradiation, boundary lubrication


Despite continuous improvements in machine elements over the past few decades, lubrication issues have impeded human exploration of the universe because single solid or liquid lubrication systems have been unable to satisfy the ever-increasing performance requirements of space tribology. In this study, we present an overview of the development of carbon-based films as protective coatings, with reference to their high hardness, low friction, and chemical inertness, and with a particular focus on diamond-like carbon (DLC) films. We also discuss the design of carbon-based solid–liquid synergy lubricating coatings with regards to their physicochemical properties and tribological performance. Solid–liquid composite coatings are fabricated via spinning liquid lubricants on solid lubricating films. Such duplex lubricating coatings are considered the most ideal lubrication choice for moving mechanical systems in space as they can overcome the drawback of adhesion and cold-welding associated with solid films under harsh space conditions and can minimize the crosslinking or chain scission of liquid lubricants under space irradiation. State of the art carbon-based solid–liquid synergy lubricating systems therefore holds great promise for space applications due to solid/liquid synergies resulting in superior qualities including excellent friction reduction and anti-wear properties as well as strong anti-irradiation capacities, thereby meeting the requirements of high reliability, high precision, high efficiency, and long lifetime for space drive mechanisms.


Tsinghua University Press