Self-dispersed crumpled graphene balls in oil for friction and wear reduction

Xuan Dou, Andrew R. Koltonow, Xingliang He, Hee Dong Jang, Qian Wang, Yip Wah Chung, Jiaxing Huang*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

173 Scopus citations


Ultrafine particles are often used as lubricant additives because they are capable of entering tribological contacts to reduce friction and protect surfaces from wear. They tend to be more stable than molecular additives under high thermal and mechanical stresses during rubbing. It is highly desirable for these particles to remain well dispersed in oil without relying on molecular ligands. Borrowing from the analogy that pieces of paper that are crumpled do not readily stick to each other (unlike flat sheets),we expect that ultrafine particles resembling miniaturized crumpled paper balls should selfdisperse in oil and could act like nanoscale ball bearings to reduce friction and wear. Here we report the use of crumpled graphene balls as a high-performance additive that can significantly improve the lubrication properties of polyalphaolefin base oil. The tribological performance of crumpled graphene balls is only weakly dependent on their concentration in oil and readily exceeds that of other carbon additives such as graphite, reduced graphene oxide, and carbon black. Notably, polyalphaolefin base oil with only 0.01-0.1 wt % of crumpled graphene balls outperforms a fully formulated commercial lubricant in terms of friction and wear reduction.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1528-1533
Number of pages6
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Issue number6
StatePublished - Feb 9 2016


  • Aggregation-resistant particles
  • Graphene
  • Lubrication
  • Tribology

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General


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