Tribological performance of the epoxy-based composite reinforced by WS2 fullerene-like nanoparticles and nanotubes



Recently large amounts of inorganic nanotubes (INT) and inorganic fullerene-like (IF) nanoparticles of WS2 became available and methods for their dispersion in different media were developed. In the present work the tribological properties of epoxy composite compounded with tungsten disulfide particles of different sizes and morphologies, including quasi-spherical IF nanoparticles, one-dimensional INT as well as micron-size platelets (2H) were investigated. The coefficient of friction and wear loss were measured under dry contact conditions using different tribological rigs. Remarkable reduction in wear and also friction (under high load) was demonstrated for the IF/INT epoxy nanocomposite. The reduced wear is attributed in general to the reinforcement of the polymer matrix by nanoparticles and the simultaneous reduction of the epoxy brittleness. Contrarily, the friction of the neat epoxy sample and epoxy mixed with platelets was accompanied with strong wear and transfer of a polymer film onto the rubbed surfaces. These results are consistent with the recently reported improvements in the fracture toughness, peel and shear strength of the epoxy-nanoparticles (IF/INT) composites.