Polymer tribology by combining ion implantation and radionuclide tracing

Heiko Timmers*, Laura G. Gladkis, Jacob A. Warner, Aidan P. Byrne, Mariela F. del Grosso, Claudia R. Arbeitman, Gerardo Garcia-Bermudez, Thomas Geruschke, Reiner Vianden

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    8 Citations (Scopus)


    Radionuclide tracers were ion implanted with three different techniques into the ultra-high molecular weight polyethylene polymer. Tracer nuclei of 7Be were produced with inverse kinematics via the reaction p(7Li,7Be)n and caught by polymer samples at a forward scattering angle with a maximum implantation energy of 16 MeV. For the first time, 97Ru, 100Pd, and, independently, 111In have been used as radionuclide tracers in ultra-high molecular weight polyethylene. 97Ru and 100Pd were recoil-implanted following the fusion evaporation reactions 92Zr(12C,α3n) 97Ru and 92Zr(12C,4n)100Pd with a maximum implantation energy of 8 MeV. 111In ions were produced in an ion source, mass-separated and implanted at 160 keV. The tribology of implanted polymer samples was studied by tracing the radionuclide during mechanical wear. Uni-directional and bi-directional sliding apparatus with stainless steel actuators were used. Results suggest a debris exchange process as the characteristic feature of the wear-in phase. This process can establish the steady state required for a subsequently constant wear rate in agreement with Archard's equation. The nano-scale implantation of mass-separated 111In appears best suited to the study of non-linear tribological processes during wear-in. Such non-linear processes may be expected to be important in micro- and nanomachines.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)2119-2123
    Number of pages5
    JournalNuclear Instruments and Methods in Physics Research, Section B: Beam Interactions with Materials and Atoms
    Issue number11-12
    Publication statusPublished - Jun 2010


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