Ionic enhancement of silica surface nanowear in electrolyte solutions

Ivan Uriev Vakarelski, Naofumi Teramoto, Cathy E. McNamee, Jeremy Marston, Ko Higashitani

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Scopus citations


The nanoscale wear and friction of silica and silicon nitride surfaces in aqueous electrolyte solutions were investigated by using sharp atomic force microscope (AFM) cantilever tips coated with silicon nitride. Measurements were carried out in aqueous solutions of varying pH and in monovalent and divalent cation chloride and nitrate solutions. The silica surface was shown to wear strongly in solutions of high pH (≈11.0), as expected, but the presence of simple cations, such as Cs+ and Ca2+, was shown to dramatically effect the wear depth and friction force for the silica surface. In the case of monovalent cations, their hydration enthalpies correlated well with the wear and friction. The weakest hydrated cation of Cs+ showed the most significant enhancement of wear and friction. In the case of divalent cations, a complex dependence on the type of cation was found, where the type of anion was also seen to play an important role. The CaCl2 solution showed the anomalous enhancement of wear depth and friction force, although the solution of Ca(NO3)2 did not. The present results obtained with an AFM tip were also compared with previous nanotribology studies of silica surfaces in electrolyte solutions, and possible molecular mechanisms as to why cations enhance the wear and friction were also discussed. © 2012 American Chemical Society.
Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)16072-16079
Number of pages8
Issue number46
StatePublished - Nov 12 2012

Bibliographical note

KAUST Repository Item: Exported on 2020-10-01

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Spectroscopy
  • General Materials Science
  • Surfaces and Interfaces
  • Electrochemistry
  • Condensed Matter Physics


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