Researchers at the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Argonne National Laboratory have been working replace oil with solid lubricants such as graphene. Argonne’s Laboratory Directed Research and Development (LDRD) Program supplied the seed money needed to begin experimentation towards that end. This work may have far reaching implications both inside and outside the automobile industry. It could help wind turbines move with greater ease, allowing them to produce more energy. It also can better seal off machinery as it pumps oil or gas from the ground or out at sea.
The graphene-encapsulated diamond ball bearings translate the nanoscale superlubricity into a macroscale phenomenon
Graphene can also be used to better protect ball bearings, which can corrode over time when exposed to water, a process commonly referred to as tribo-corrosion. The Argonne-developed process based on graphene has shown that a few layers of graphene not only reduced friction in steel rubbing against steel by seven times and the wear by 10,000 times but also significantly reduced the tribo-corrosion problem.