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Scharf, co-authors recognized for best paper about solid lubricants

Dr. Thomas Scharf, associate professor, Department of Materials Science and EngineeringThomas Scharf, left, associate professor with the Department of Materials Science and Engineering, and co-authors are 2011 recipients of the Society of Tribologists and Lubrication Engineers' Al Sonntag Award for their paper about a nanocomposite coating.

The Sonntag Award honors society member authors of the best paper about solid lubricants. It is named for a pioneer leader in the field of solid lubricants.

The nanocomposite coating described in the paper "provides low friction, low torque, and low wear in rolling element bearings used in extreme environmental conditions," said Scharf. "The coating also has the ability to coat fully assembled parts, namely rolling element bearings, and be used in batch processing to minimize lubrication process costs."

The paper, Atomic Layer Deposition of Tungsten Disulphide Solid Lubricant Nanocomposite Coatings on Rolling Element Bearings, appeared in Tribology Transactions Vol. 52, Issue 3, May 2009. Scharf is the lead; co-authors are David Diercks, facilities manager, Center for Advanced Research and Technology; Brian Gorman, Colorado School of Mines; and Somuri Prasad and Mike Dugger, Sandia National Laborotories.

"The research that went into the paper was a collective effort between UNT and Sandia National Laboratories in Albuquerque, N.M.," said Scharf. "Much of the work would not have been possible without UNT's Center for Advanced Research and Technology, which has some of the best characterization equipment in the world. In particular, the combination of focused ion beam microscopy and high resolution transmission electron microscopy provided novel insights into rolling contact mechanisms in solid lubricants, both chemically and structurally."

Scharf joined UNT in 2005. He is the director of the Laboratory for Moving Mechanical Assemblies. The group's main research interests are:

  • Physical and chemical vapor (atomic layer) deposition of ceramic and metallic nanostructured thin films for moving mechanical assemblies, such as bearings, gears, MEMS and orthopedic implants;
  • Processing, structure, and property interrelationships of functionally graded metal-ceramic and ceramic-ceramic hybrid composites;
  • Studying the fundamental mechanisms of friction, wear, and lubrication of sliding and rolling interfaces by electron microscopy, vibrational spectroscopy and atom probe tomography techniques;
  • In situ chemical diagnostic tribology of dry and lubricated contacts using Raman spectroscopy.

The prestigious award is testimony to the high quality of Scharf's work and provides the wide visibility to the ongoing research programs at the Department of Materials Science and Engineering of UNT, said Narendra Dahotre, professor and chair. 

Posted on: Tue 08 March 2011

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