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Influence of hydroxyl group functionalization and alkyl chain length on physicochemical and antiwear properties of hexafluorophosphate imidazolium ionic liquids

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Purpose ‐ The aim of the present paper is that three long-chain hydroxyethyl alkylimidazolium hexa?uorophosphate ionic liquids (ILs) were synthesized and evaluated as lubricants for steel-steel contacts at room temperature and boundary lubrication conditions. Hydroxyethyl functional group and alkyl chain length effect on the physicochemical and fretting tribological behaviors of the ILs was comparatively investigated, as compared to traditional dialkylimidazolium ILs. Design/methodology/approach ‐ The fretting friction and wear tests were carried out using an Optimol SRV-IV oscillating reciprocating friction and wear tester. The worn surface was observed and analyzed by scanning electron microscope and X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy. The electrochemical corrosion behavior of copper disks in selected imidazolium-based ionic liquids was studied using a CHI660B electrochemical workstation. Findings ‐ This can be seen by comparing the results for the non-hydroxyl ILs and hydroxyl ILs that the latter exhibited the littler friction coefficient, the smaller wear volume, although the latter electrochemical corrosion behavior of copper disks is slightly higher than the former. The results also revealed that the ILs with a longer alkyl chain displayed larger viscosities, better anti-corrosion capacities, higher hydrophobic properties and more excellent friction-reducing and anti-wear performance than those with a shorter alkyl chain. Originality/value ‐ This work might offer new knowledge in the design and application of new ILs as lubricants; it also confirms some in-depth physicochemical questions, e.g. the function mechanism, the correlations between structure and performance. Additionally, a proposed interaction model between the ILs and the friction substrate has been given.
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Keywords: Hydroxyethyl alkylimidazolium hexafluorophosphate; Ionic liquids; Physicochemical characterization; Steel/steel; Tribological properties

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: April 8, 2014

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