The purpose of this thesis was to compare graphene nanoplatelets (GNP) and WS2 as solid lubricant additives to aluminum in order to reduce friction and wear. The central hypothesis of this work relied on lubricating properties of 2D materials, which consist layers that slip under a shear force.
Two aluminum composites were made (Al-2 vol.% GNP and Al-2 vol.% WS2) by spark plasma sintering. Tribological properties were evaluated by ball-on-disk wear tests at room temperature (RT) and 200°C.
WS2 not only presented the lowest COF (0.66) but also improved the wear resistance of aluminum by 54% at RT. Al-2 vol.% GNP composite displayed poor densification (91%) and low hardness resulting in poor wear resistance. The wear rate of Al-2 vol.% GNP composite increased by 233% at RT and 48% at 200°C as compared to pure aluminum. GNP addition also resulted in lower COF (0.79) as compared to pure aluminum (0.87).