Near surface properties of mixtures of propylammonium nitrate with n-alkanols 2. Nanotribology and fluid dynamics

James Sweeney, Grant B. Webber, Rob Atkin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

8 Citations (Scopus)


Colloid probe friction force microscopy (FFM) has been used to study the lubricity of propylammonium nitrate (PAN) mixed with n-alkanols confined between sliding silica and mica surfaces. Mixtures of PAN with butanol, hexanol, octanol and dodecanol were investigated for various n-alkanol volume fractions to elucidate the effect of n-alkanol hydrocarbon chain length and concentration on shear forces. For all n-alkanols friction decreases with n-alkanol vol%. The trends in friction reduction with n-alkanol vol% do not correlate with changes in the bulk phase viscosity or the near surface nanostructure, and colloid probe atomic force microscope (AFM) fluid dynamic measurements showed that none of the mixtures shear thin. Thus, the reduction in friction is attributed to the n-alkanol disrupting solvophobic interactions between boundary layer propylammonium ions adsorbed to the mica and near surface liquid layers. The lowest friction is obtained for pure dodecanol, which is attributed to the dodecanol forming a robust boundary layer. Friction for the other pure n-alkanols is higher because the lateral attractions between adsorbed n-alkanols are too weak to facilitate the formation of a strong boundary layer, commensurate with the decreased hydrocarbon chain length.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)26629-26637
Number of pages9
JournalPhysical Chemistry Chemical Physics
Issue number40
Publication statusPublished - 28 Oct 2015
Externally publishedYes


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