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This study examines the role of Graphene nanoplatelets (GNPs) as a solid lubricant additive to aluminum. Pure Al and Al-2 vol % GNP pellets are sintered by Spark Plasma Sintering (SPS). Their tribological properties are evaluated by a ball-on-disk tribometer at room temperature (RT) and high temperature (200 °C). Al-2 vol % GNP composite displayed poor densification (91%) and low hardness, resulting in poor wear resistance as compared to pure Al. However GNP addition resulted in a lower coefficient of friction (COF) as compared to pure aluminum at both temperatures. The results demonstrated that GNPs contribute to reducing COF by forming a protective tribolayer. GNPs also play a unique role in reducing oxygen ingress at 200 °C. It is concluded that the packing density of a starting powder blend of Al-GNP needs to be improved by using irregular shaped aluminum powder mixed with both larger and smaller GNPs. This would result in greater densification and improve wear rate while maintaining low COF.


Originally published in Technologies.

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