Open Access Research Article Issue
A sulfonated modification of PEEK for ultralow friction
Friction 2023, 11 (6): 881-893
Published: 30 July 2022

Polyether ether ketone (PEEK) is a widely used material for friction pairs due to its excellent mechanical strength, good wear resistance, and chemical inertness. However, some modifications are necessary when PEEK is used as a water-lubricated friction pair. In this study, a novel sulfonation method was developed to design a water-lubricated friction pair with ultralow friction, good wear resistance, and high loading capacity. PEEK powders were sulfonated using ClSO3H and sintered to form bulk plastic. The sulfonated PEEK (SPEEK) plastic exhibited good tribological properties. At a low sliding speed, the friction coefficient was smaller than 0.02 when a 3 wt% NaCl solution was used as the lubricant. The order of magnitude of the wear rate was as low as 10-8 mm3/(N⋅m). The mechanism of friction reduction was mainly hydration lubrication. The negatively charged –SO3 groups on the friction pair can adsorb hydrated Na+ cations by electrostatic interactions. These hydrated Na+ cations have a high load capacity and low shearing resistance. The ultralow wear mechanism observed in this study is possibly due to ultralow friction properties of the friction pairs prepared through the proposed sulfonation and thermoforming procedures.

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