The research objective of this award is to test the hypothesis that the four key graphene platelet design factors, namely, (1) platelet shape and size; (2) number of graphene layers within a platelet; (3) interfacial surface chemistry between graphene and the dispersion medium; and (4) graphene concentration, all influence the lubrication and cooling efficiency of graphene-enhanced metal working fluids. This objective will be achieved by four major research tasks, namely, (1) manufacture of engineered graphene platelets and property characterization of their colloidal dispersions; (2) micro-turning experiments to study the effect of graphene platelet design factors on the performance of the metal working fluid; (3) characterization of the impact dynamics and evaporation of the graphene-laden micro-droplets; and (4) engineering the graphene platelets for use in environmentally benign algae oil-based cutting fluids.
If successful, this research will result in the improvement of the lubrication and cooling performance of a wide variety of metal working fluids used by the manufacturing industry in the United States. This is a multi-billion dollar market that affects the cost of products used in key areas including defense, aerospace, health care and consumer electronics. It will also advance sustainable manufacturing initatives by providing the knowledge needed to design graphene-based additives for use in high-performance environmentally-benign cutting fluids. The outreach activities pursued as part of this research will encourage both the New York state high school students as well as the Navajo minority students in New Mexico, to pursue higher education in the fields of science and engineering.