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Lubricated Mechanical Nanopolishing and Motor Oil for Self-Healing Metals and Ceramics

Stage: Prototype
Iowa State University and Ames Laboratory researchers have developed a process to produce extremely flat and smooth surfaces on hard materials without involving a chemical etchant.

Chemical mechanical polishing (CMP) is a process used to create defect-free, smooth and flat surfaces, primarily for the semiconductor industry, and involves both mechanical polishing and chemical etching. CMP slurries (which provide the physical interface between the sample and the polishing equipment) typically consist of an abrasive (most often a metal oxide such as silica, ceria, alumina or zirconia), a liquid medium (normally water, but can be others depending on the application), and chemical agents (oxidizers, bases, acids) which treat the surface.

By tweaking the abrasive composition and size as well as the liquid medium, this technology removes the need for a chemical agent and can provide a nearly atomically flat surface. Through multiple steps, this process can create much flatter and smoother surfaces than produced using commercial materials (rough mean square roughness of 0.314nm versus 0.753nm for conventional polishing).


Applications and Industries

Semiconductor manufacture and internal combustion engine lubricants


A 2 to 3 fold increase in surface smoothness

Applicable to many hard surfaces

May be extended to internal combustion engine lubricants

May increase energy efficiency in treated engines