Adhesion and size dependent friction anisotropy in boron nitride nanotubes

Hsiang Chih Chiu*, Sedat Dogan, Mirjam Volkmann, Christian Klinke, Elisa Riedo

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Citations (Scopus)


The frictional properties of individual multiwalled boron nitride nanotubes (BN-NTs) synthesized by chemical vapour deposition (CVD) and deposited on a silicon substrate are investigated using an atomic force microscope tip sliding along (longitudinal sliding) and across (transverse sliding) the tubes principal axis. Because of the tubes transverse deformations during the tip sliding, a larger friction coefficient is found for the transverse sliding as compared to the longitudinal sliding. Here, we show that the friction anisotropy in BN-NTs, defined as the ratio between transverse and longitudinal friction forces per unit area, increases with the nanotubesubstrate contact area, estimated to be proportional to (L NTRR NT) 1/2, where L NT and R NT are the length and the radius of the nanotube, respectively. Larger contact area denotes stronger surface adhesion, resulting in a longitudinal friction coefficient closer to the value expected in the absence of transverse deformations. Compared to carbon nanotubes (C-NTs), BN-NTs display a friction coefficient in each sliding direction with intermediate values between CVD and arc discharge C-NTs. CVD BN-NTs with improved tribological properties and higher oxidation temperature might be a better candidate than CVD C-NTs for applications in extreme environments.

Original languageEnglish
Article number455706
Issue number45
Publication statusPublished - 2012 Nov 16
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Bioengineering
  • General Chemistry
  • General Materials Science
  • Mechanics of Materials
  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


Dive into the research topics of 'Adhesion and size dependent friction anisotropy in boron nitride nanotubes'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this