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Lubrication at Physiological Pressures by Polyzwitterionic Brushes

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Science  27 Mar 2009:
Vol. 323, Issue 5922, pp. 1698-1701
DOI: 10.1126/science.1169399

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Abstract

The very low sliding friction at natural synovial joints, which have friction coefficients of μ < 0.002 at pressures up to 5 megapascals or more, has to date not been attained in any human-made joints or between model surfaces in aqueous environments. We found that surfaces in water bearing polyzwitterionic brushes that were polymerized directly from the surface can have μ values as low as 0.0004 at pressures as high as 7.5 megapascals. This extreme lubrication is attributed primarily to the strong hydration of the phosphorylcholine-like monomers that make up the robustly attached brushes, and may have relevance to a wide range of human-made aqueous lubrication situations.

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