Surficial water adsorption and interfacial water condensation as natural phenomena that can alter the contact status of the solid interface and tribological performances are crucial in all length scales, i.e., from earthquakes to skating at the macroscale level and even to micro/nano-electromechanical systems (M/NEMS) at the microscale/nanoscale level. Interfacial water exhibits diverse structure and properties from bulk water because of its further interaction with solid surfaces. In this paper, the evolutions of the molecular configuration of the adsorbed water layer depending on solid surface chemistry (wettability) and structure, environmental conditions (i.e., relative humidity and temperature), and experimental parameters (i.e., sliding speed and normal load) and their impacts on tribological performances, such as adhesion, friction, and wear, are systematically reviewed. Based on these factors, interfacial water can increase or reduce adhesion and friction as well as facilitate or suppress the tribochemical wear depending on the water condensation kinetics at the interface as well as the thickness and structure of the involved interfacial water.


Tsinghua University Press