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About 30% of the world’s primary energy consumption is in friction. The economic losses caused by friction energy dissipation and wear account for about 2%–7% of its gross domestic product (GDP) for different countries every year. The key to reducing energy consumption is to control the way of energy dissipation in the friction process. However, due to many various factors affecting friction and the lack of efficient detection methods, the energy dissipation mechanism in friction is still a challenging problem. Here, we firstly introduce the classical microscopic mechanism of friction energy dissipation, including phonon dissipation, electron dissipation, and non-contact friction energy dissipation. Then, we attempt to summarize the ultrafast friction energy dissipation and introduce the high-resolution friction energy dissipation detection system, since the origin of friction energy dissipation is essentially related to the ultrafast dynamics of excited electrons and phonons. Finally, the application of friction energy dissipation in representative high-end equipment is discussed, and the potential economic saving is predicted.

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The mechanisms and applications of friction energy dissipation

Show Author's information Huan LIU1Boming YANG2Chong WANG1Yishu HAN1Dameng LIU1( )
State Key Laboratory of Tribology, Tsinghua University, Beijing 100084, China
College of Liberal Arts & Sciences, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Urbana 61801, USA


About 30% of the world’s primary energy consumption is in friction. The economic losses caused by friction energy dissipation and wear account for about 2%–7% of its gross domestic product (GDP) for different countries every year. The key to reducing energy consumption is to control the way of energy dissipation in the friction process. However, due to many various factors affecting friction and the lack of efficient detection methods, the energy dissipation mechanism in friction is still a challenging problem. Here, we firstly introduce the classical microscopic mechanism of friction energy dissipation, including phonon dissipation, electron dissipation, and non-contact friction energy dissipation. Then, we attempt to summarize the ultrafast friction energy dissipation and introduce the high-resolution friction energy dissipation detection system, since the origin of friction energy dissipation is essentially related to the ultrafast dynamics of excited electrons and phonons. Finally, the application of friction energy dissipation in representative high-end equipment is discussed, and the potential economic saving is predicted.

Keywords: friction energy dissipation, ultrafast dynamics, origin of friction, superlubricity.


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Publication history

Received: 25 November 2021
Revised: 06 March 2022
Accepted: 21 April 2022
Published: 26 August 2022
Issue date: June 2023


© The author(s) 2022.


This work is supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (Nos. 52075284, 52105195, 51527901, and 11890672) and the Postdoctoral Research Foundation of China (Nos. 2020M680528 and BX2021151).

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