2015 Volume 10 Issue 2 Pages 138-146
The objective of this study is to evaluate the boundary lubrication performance of ionic liquids under high vacuum and low temperature by taking the cosmic space environment into consideration, as a screening stage prior to evaluating lubrication performance in actual space mechanisms. The boundary lubrication performance of ionic liquids was evaluated at room temperature with a reciprocating linear motion tribometer, and at low temperature (from –80°C to room temperature) with a unidirectional rotation tribometer. Low-temperature rheometry was also carried out. Ionic liquids showed a supercooling state and crystallization. This crystallization was prevented by mixing different ionic liquids together. The equimolar mixture of 1-ethyl-3-methyl-imidazolium bis(trifluoromethylsulfonyl) amide (EMI-TFSA), 1-butyl-3-methyl-imidazolium bis(trifluoromethylsulfonyl) amide (BMI-TFSA), and 1-hexyl-3-methyl-imidazolium bis(trifluoromethylsulfonyl) amide (HMI-TFSA) showed no crystallization in our experiment. The antiwear performance of this sample oil mixture was similar to that of MAC and much better than that of PFPE at low temperatures. This mixture prevented metal contact at –80°C, most likely due to its high viscosity and high adsorption of molecules.