Molecular tribology of lubricants and additives

Yoon Kyoung Cho, Lenore Cai, Steve Granick

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Scopus citations


Knowledge of the bulk viscosity provides little guidance to predict accurately the interfacial shear strength and effective viscosity of a fluid in a lubricated contact. To quantify these differences between bulk and thin-film viscosity, an instrument was developed to measure the shear of parallel single crystal solids separated by molecularly-thin lubricant films. The effective shear viscosity is enhanced compared to the bulk, relaxation times are prolonged, and nonlinear responses set in at lower shear rates. These effects are more prominent, the thinner the liquid film. Studies with lubricant additives cast doubt on the usefulness of the concept of a friction coefficient for lubricated sliding.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)889-894
Number of pages6
JournalTribology International
Issue number12
StatePublished - 1997
Externally publishedYes


  • Friction
  • Lubricants
  • Nanorheology
  • Nanotribology
  • SFa

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Mechanics of Materials
  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Surfaces and Interfaces
  • Surfaces, Coatings and Films


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