On the size effect of molybdenum disulfide particles on tribological performance

Xianguo Hu (Institute of Tribology, Hefei University of Technology, Hefei, People's Republic of China)

Industrial Lubrication and Tribology

ISSN: 0036-8792

Publication date: 1 December 2005



To provide a suitable useful mixing ration of nano‐sized molybdenum disulfide and commercial common molybdenum sulfide (MoS2) particles (approximately 1.5 μm in diameter) in liquid paraffin, which can lead to a better tribological performance.


The MoS2 nanoparticles and commercial common MoS2 particles (approximately 1.5 μm in diameter) were dispersed in liquid paraffin with different concentrations and ratios by means of ultrasonic in order to study their lubrication capacity, friction reduction and wear resistance. The tribological experiments were carried out by MQ‐800 four‐ball tribometer, in which extreme pressure, wear scan diameter and friction coefficient were measured. It was analyzed that the chemical status of elements on the rubbed surface by X‐ray photoelectron spectroscopy (XPS), and it was observed that the surface topography of wear scan by scanning electron microscope (SEM).


The results showed that the loading capacity of liquid paraffin with different kinds of MoS2 particles were increased with their contents. The liquid paraffin containing the mixture of MoS2 nanoparticles and common MoS2 particles has a better wear resistance, friction‐reducing performance and extreme pressure property than the liquid paraffin containing pure common MoS2 or pure nano‐MoS2 particles. The optimal mixing ratio of nano‐MoS2 and common MoS2 is 20 wt percent, the loading capacity reaches the highest value. By XPS and SEM it was suggested that the difference in the tribological performance between MoS2 nanoparticles and MoS2 common particles was attributed to the surface and interfacial size‐effect of nanoparticles and the formation of molybdenum trioxide thin film on the rubbed surface.

Research limitations/implications

It is not studied that the effects of mixing of common MoS2 and nano‐MoS2 in the actual lubricating oil with various additives.

Practical implications

It provided a basic research results and data for the application of nano‐MoS2 particles.


The mixing of nanoparticles and non‐nano‐sized particles will lead to new tribological results, which is different from results obtained from other nanoparticles before.



Hu, X. (2005), "On the size effect of molybdenum disulfide particles on tribological performance", Industrial Lubrication and Tribology, Vol. 57 No. 6, pp. 255-259. https://doi.org/10.1108/00368790510622353

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