Skip to main content

Nano-tribology studies of reduced graphene oxide films in air and in aqueous solutions with different pH values

  • Pengfei Li (a1) and Xianhua Cheng (a2)

In this study, three types of graphene films—hydrothermal reduced graphene oxide (GO) film, thermal reduced GO film, and GO film—on silicon substrate by using 3-aminopropyl triethoxysilane (APTES) as the interface adhesive layer were prepared for investigation. The chemical compositions of the samples were characterized by x-ray photoelectron spectroscopy (XPS). Surface morphologies, adhesive forces, and nano friction forces in air and aqueous solutions with different pH values were investigated by atomic force microscopy (AFM). Results showed that capillary force dominated the adhesive force in air condition, and adhesive force was much smaller in aqueous solution than in air due to the disappearance of the capillary force. Adhesive force and friction coefficient of the three samples slightly decreased with the increase of pH values. Hydrothermal reduced GO film exhibits the best lubricity both in air and in liquids among those three films.

Corresponding author
a) Address all correspondence to this author. e-mail:
Hide All
1. Ko J.H., Kwon S., Byun I.S., Choi J.S., Park B.H., Kim Y.H., and Park J.Y.: Nanotribological properties of fluorinated, hydrogenated, and oxidized graphenes. Tribol. Lett. 50, 137 (2013).
2. Choi J.S., Kim J.S., Byun I.S., Lee D.H., Lee M.J., Park B.H., Lee C., Yoon D., Cheong H., Lee K.H., Son Y.W., Park J.Y., and Salmeron M.: Friction anisotropy-driven domain imaging on exfoliated monolayer graphene. Science 333, 607 (2011).
3. Filleter T., McChesney J., Bostwick A., Rotenberg E., Emtsev K., Seyller T., Horn K., and Bennewitz R.: Friction and dissipation in epitaxial graphene films. Phys. Rev. Lett. 102, 086102 (2009).
4. Lee C., Wei X., Kysar J.W., and Hone J.: Measurement of the elastic properties and intrinsic strength of monolayer graphene. Science 321, 385 (2008).
5. Compton O.C. and Nguyen S.T.: Graphene oxide, highly reduced graphene oxide, and graphene: Versatile building blocks for carbon-based materials. Small 6, 711 (2010).
6. Deng Z., Klimov N.N., Solares S.D., Li T., Xu H., and Cannara R.J.: Nanoscale interfacial friction and adhesion on supported versus suspended monolayer and multilayer graphene. Langmuir 29, 235 (2013).
7. Lin L.Y., Kim D.E., Kim W.K., and Jun S.C.: Friction and wear characteristics of multi-layer graphene films investigated by atomic force microscopy. Surf. Coat. Technol. 205, 4864 (2011).
8. Berman D., Erdemir A., and Sumant A.V.: Few layer graphene to reduce wear and friction on sliding steel surfaces. Carbon 54, 454 (2013).
9. Dou X., Koltonow A.R., He X., Jang H.D., Wang Q., Chung Y-W., and Huang J.: Self-dispersed crumpled graphene balls in oil for friction and wear reduction. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. 113, 1528 (2013).
10. Li P.F., Zhou H., and Cheng X.H.: Investigation of a hydrothermal reduced graphene oxide nano coating on Ti substrate and its nano-tribological behavior. Surf. Coat. Technol. 254, 298 (2014).
11. Li P.F., Zhou H., and Cheng X.H.: Nano/micro tribological behaviors of a self-assembled graphene oxide nanolayer on Ti/titanium alloy substrates. Appl. Surf. Sci. 285, 937 (2013).
12. Liu Z.H., Shu D., Li P.F., and Cheng X.H.: Tribology study of lanthanum-treated graphene oxide thin film on silicon substrate. RSC Adv. 4, 15937 (2014).
13. Ou J., Wang J., Liu S., Mu B., Ren J., Wang H., and Yang S.: Tribology study of reduced graphene oxide sheets on silicon substrate synthesized via covalent assembly. Langmuir 26, 15830 (2010).
14. Li D., Muller M.B., Gilje S., Kaner R.B., and Wallace G.G.: Processable aqueous dispersions of graphene nanosheets. Nat. Nanotechnol. 3, 101 (2008).
15. Yang D., Velamakanni A., Bozoklu G., Park S., Stoller M., Piner R.D., Stankovich S., Jung I., Field D.A., Ventrice C.A., and Ruoff R.S.: Chemical analysis of graphene oxide films after heat and chemical treatments by x-ray photoelectron and micro-Raman spectroscopy. Carbon 47, 145 (2009).
16. Becerril H.A., Mao J., Liu Z., Stoltenberg R.M., Bao Z., and Chen Y.: Evaluation of solution-processed reduced graphene oxide films as transparent conductors. ACS Nano 2, 463 (2008).
17. Shin H.J., Kim K.K., Benayad A., Yoon S.M., Park H.K., Jung I.S., Jin M.H., Jeong H.K., Kim J.M., Choi J.Y., and Lee Y.H.: Efficient reduction of graphite oxide by sodium borohydride and its effect on electrical conductance. Adv. Funct. Mater. 19, 1987 (2009).
18. Gao W., Alemany L.B., Ci L.J., and Ajayan P.M.: New insights into the structure and reduction of graphite oxide. Nat. Chem. 1, 403 (2009).
19. Stankovich S.D., Piner R.D., Kohlhaas K.A., Kleinhammes A., and Jia Y.: Synthesis of graphene-based nanosheets via chemical reduction of exfoliated graphite oxide. Carbon 45, 1558 (2007).
20. Zhou Y., Bao Q., Tang L.A.L., Zhong Y., and Loh K.P.: Hydrothermal dehydration for the “Green” reduction of exfoliated graphene oxide to graphene and demonstration of tunable optical limiting properties. Chem. Mater. 21, 2950 (2009).
21. Wang X., Zhi L.J., and Mullen K.: Transparent, conductive graphene electrodes for dye-sensitized solar cells. Nano Lett. 8, 323 (2008).
22. Pei S., Zhao J., Du J., Ren W., and Cheng H-M.: Direct reduction of graphene oxide films into highly conductive and flexible graphene films by hydrohalic acids. Carbon 48, 4466 (2010).
23. Robinson B.J., Kay N.D., and Kolosov O.V.: Nanoscale interfacial interactions of graphene with polar and nonpolar liquids. Langmuir 29, 7735 (2013).
24. Minatchy G., Thomas P., Bilas P., Nomede-Martyr N., and Romana L.: Macro- and nanotribological properties of graphite tribofilms: Influence of the sliding interface. Tribol. Lett. 56, 443 (2014).
25. Ou J., Liu L., Wang J., Wang F., Xue M., and Li W.: Fabrication and tribological investigation of a novel hydrophobic polydopamine/graphene oxide multilayer film. Tribol. Lett. 48, 407 (2012).
26. Liu Y., Wu T., and Evans D.L.: Lateral force microscopy study on the shear properties of self-assembled monolayers of dialkylammonium surfactant on mica. Langmuir 10, 2241 (1994).
27. Dreyer D.R., Park S., Bielawski C.W., and Ruoff R.S.: The chemistry of graphene oxide. Chem. Soc. Rev. 39, 228 (2010).
28. Lerf A., Forster M., and Klinowski J.: Structure of graphite oxide revisited. J. Phys. Chem. B 102, 4477 (1998).
29. Song S.Y., Chu R.Q., Zhou J.F., Yang S.G., and Zhang J.Y.: Formation and tribology study of amide-containing stratified self-assembled monolayers: Influences of the underlayer structure. J. Phys. Chem. C 112, 3805 (2008).
30. Gao X.F., Jang J., and Nagase S.: Hydrazine and thermal reduction of graphene Oxide: Reaction mechanisms, product structures, and reaction design. J. Phys. Chem. C 114, 832 (2010).
31. Park S. and Ruoff R.S.: Chemical methods for the production of graphenes. Nat. Nanotechnol. 4, 21 (2009).
32. Li P.F., Xu Y., and Cheng X.H.: Chemisorption of thermal reduced graphene oxide nano-layer film on TNTZ surface and its tribological behavior. Surf. Coat. Technol. 232, 331 (2013).
33. Su C.Y., Xu Y.P., Zhang W.J., Zhao J.W., Tang X.H., Tsai C.H., and Li L.J.: Electrical and spectroscopic characterizations of ultra-large reduced graphene oxide monolayers. Chem. Mater. 21, 5674 (2009).
34. Pei S. and Cheng H.M.: The reduction of graphene oxide. Carbon 50, 3210 (2012).
35. Ding Y.H., Zhang P., Ren H.M., Zhuo Q., Yang Z.M., Jiang X., and Jiang Y.: Surface adhesion properties of graphene and graphene oxide studied by colloid-probe atomic force microscopy. Appl. Surf. Sci. 258, 1077 (2011).
36. Xiao X.D. and Qian L.M.: Investigation of humidity-dependent capillary force. Langmuir 16, 8153 (2000).
37. Ito T., Namba M., Buhlmann P., and Umezawa Y.: Modification of silicon nitride tips with trichlorosilane self-assembled monolayers (SAMs) for chemical force microscopy. Langmuir 13, 4323 (1997).
38. Hamaker H.C.: The London-van der Waals attraction between spherical particles. Physica 4, 1058 (1937).
39. Noskov S., Scherer C., and Maskos M.: Determination of Hamaker constants of polymeric nanoparticles in organic solvents by asymmetrical flow field-flow fractionation. J. Chromatogr. A 1274, 151 (2013).
40. Senden T.J. and Drummond C.J.: Surface chemistry and tip-sample interactions in atomic force microscopy. Colloids Surf., A 94, 29 (1995).
41. Tsukruk V.V. and Bliznyuk V.N.: Adhesive and friction forces between chemically modified silicon and silicon nitride surfaces. Langmuir 14, 446 (1998).
42. Hu X., Yu Y., Hou W., Zhou J., and Song L.: Effects of particle size and pH value on the hydrophilicity of graphene oxide. Appl. Surf. Sci. 273, 118 (2013).
43. Foster T.T., Alexander M.R., Leggett G.J., and McAlpine E.: Friction force microscopy of alkylphosphonic acid and carboxylic acids adsorbed on the native oxide of aluminum. Langmuir 22, 9254 (2006).
44. Brewer N.J., Beake B.D., and Leggett G.J.: Friction force microscopy of self-assembled monolayers: Influence of adsorbate alkyl chain length, terminal group chemistry, and scan velocity. Langmuir 17, 1970 (2001).
45. Peng Y., Wang Z., and Li C.: Study of nanotribological properties of multilayer graphene by calibrated atomic force microscopy. Nanotechnology 25, 305701 (2014).
46. Lee C., Li Q., Kalb W., Liu X.Z., Berger H., Carpick R.W., and Hone J.: Frictional characteristics of atomically thin sheets. Science 328, 76 (2010).
47. Li Q.Y., Lee C., Carpick R.W., and Hone J.: Substrate effect on thickness-dependent friction on graphene. Phys. Status Solidi B 247, 2909 (2010).
Recommend this journal

Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this journal to your organisation's collection.

Journal of Materials Research
  • ISSN: 0884-2914
  • EISSN: 2044-5326
  • URL: /core/journals/journal-of-materials-research
Please enter your name
Please enter a valid email address
Who would you like to send this to? *



Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 31
Total number of PDF views: 62 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 355 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between 8th December 2016 - 14th December 2017. This data will be updated every 24 hours.