• thin films;
  • gels;
  • tribological behavior


A series of organic–inorganic hybrid thin films are prepared by means of the sol–gel process in curing epoxy and hydrolyzing tetraethoxysilane. The epoxy group of γ-glycidyloxipropyltrimethoxysilane can be incorporated into the sol–gel network to form the interaction between the inorganic and organic phases. Inorganic and organic components can be mixed on the nanometer scales, thereby leading to the formation of so-called hybrid materials. Transmission electron microscopy examinations and atomic force microscopy are employed to study the morphology and roughness of the samples, respectively. In addition, the tribological behavior of dip-coating thin films is evaluated by the use of a dynamic/static friction precision measurement apparatus (unidirectional sliding tester). The influences of the contents of both the filler and the coupling agent on the tribological properties of the nanocomposite thin films are systematically studied. These results indicate that the films sliding against a GCr15 steel ball display excellent antiwear and friction reduction performance. © 2005 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. J Appl Polym Sci 97: 38–43, 2005