Supramolecular repair of hydration lubrication surfaces

Yixin Wang, Yulong Sun, Alyssa Jennifer Avestro, Paul R. McGonigal*, Hongyu Zhang

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Although advances in coating technologies have allowed us to match—or even exceed—the lubricity of Nature's low-friction surfaces, the performance of synthetic materials inevitably diminishes over time as the surfaces are worn and damaged by irreversible breakage of covalent bonds. Synthetic systems lack the bespoke repair mechanisms that replenish hydration lubrication surfaces in Nature. Here, we demonstrate dynamic repair of low-friction surfaces prepared through a surface-selective self-assembly strategy. Monolayers of lubricating polymers associate with functionalized surfaces through strong and specific host–guest interactions, leading to hydration lubrication surfaces with low coefficients of friction (0.024–0.028). Following friction-induced dissociation of the polymers, the polymer-to-surface interaction is restored by the reformation of host–guest complexes, thus repairing the monolayer, renewing the lubricity, and reducing the effects of wear. Such dynamically restored low-friction materials will be an essential tool in decreasing global energy use—a fifth of which is expended overcoming friction.

Original languageEnglish
JournalCHEM
Early online date24 Nov 2021
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 10 Feb 2022

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work is financially supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China ( 52022043 ); National Key Research and Development Program of China ( 2018YFB1201902-03 ); Precision Medicine Foundation , Tsinghua University , China ( 10001020120 ); and Capital’s Funds for Health Improvement and Research , China ( 2020-2Z-40810 ). P.R.M. and Y.S. thank the EPSRC for funding ( EP/V025201/1 ). A.-J.A. thanks the Royal Society and Global Challenges Research Fund for the award of a Dorothy Hodgkin Fellowship ( DHF\R1\180106 ) and an Enhancement Award (RGF\EA\181065). We thank Dr. Alex Heyman and Dr. Andrew Leech of the University of York NMR Facility and Bioscience Technology Facility, respectively, for their technical support and advice.

Funding Information:
This work is financially supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (52022043); National Key Research and Development Program of China (2018YFB1201902-03); Precision Medicine Foundation, Tsinghua University, China (10001020120); and Capital's Funds for Health Improvement and Research, China (2020-2Z-40810). P.R.M. and Y.S. thank the EPSRC for funding (EP/V025201/1). A.-J.A. thanks the Royal Society and Global Challenges Research Fund for the award of a Dorothy Hodgkin Fellowship (DHF\R1\180106) and an Enhancement Award (RGF\EA\181065). We thank Dr. Alex Heyman and Dr. Andrew Leech of the University of York NMR Facility and Bioscience Technology Facility, respectively, for their technical support and advice. Y.W. and Y.S. performed synthesis and characterization of materials. Y.W. carried out microscopy measurements. All authors devised experiments, interpreted data, and prepared the manuscript. The authors declare no competing interests. One or more of the authors of this paper self-identifies as an underrepresented ethnic minority in science. One or more of the authors of this paper received support from a program designed to increase minority representation in science.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 Elsevier Inc.

Keywords

  • cyclodextrins
  • friction
  • hydration lubrication
  • macrocycles
  • phosphorylcholine polymers
  • SDG3: Good health and well-being
  • SDG7: Affordable and clean energy
  • supramolecular interactions

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