Application of ion bombardment to modify tribological properties of elastomers
Polimery 2014, No 5, 416
In the paper effects of surface modification of various elastomers upon irradiation with H+, He+, F+ or Ar+ ions are presented. Changes to chemical composition and physical structure of rubber macromolecules are discussed in terms of influence of the treatment on modification of surface layer of the elastomers. Hydrogen release induced graphitization together with post-treatment oxidation of rubber macromolecules increase surface wettability of the materials, facilitating lowering of „wet” friction. Free radicals being created due to interactions between energetic ions and macromolecules produce additional crosslinking, which manifests itself by increased hardness of the elastomers. Modification of mechanical properties of the surface layer changes mechanism of elastomer friction from the bulk to the surface one, what results in significant reduction of friction. Despite crosslinking induced shrinkage of the surface layer, which results in its micro-cracking, ion beam treated elastomers showed to be wear resistant due to the lack of delamination under stress. Interesting results were obtained for heavy Ar+ ions surface etched butadiene-acrylonitrile rubber/multiwalled carbon nanotube (NBR/MWCNT) composites. Nanotube agglomerates created from rubber substrate resulted in „island” morphology, significantly reducing friction of the material.