• Nan Zhang

Congratulations to Honggang for his paper again published in International Journal of Machine Tools

Updated: Sep 29, 2021

This paper, for the first time, developed a novel strategy for the fabrication of high-hardness and self-lubricating 2D material-reinforced nickel mould tools using electroforming to achieve high precision replication of polymeric micro structures. Our results demonstrated that nickel/WS2 mould tools presented the most significant microhardness improvement. A maximum microhardness of ∼660 HV together with a minimum crystallite size of 12 nm was achieved from 0.5 g/L WS2, indicating a 3.67 times microhardness increase and 3 times crystallite size reduction relative to the pure nickel mould tool. The enhanced microhardness can be attributed to the 2D material-induced crystal refinement, and inherent hardness and incorporation content of 2D material. Additionally, friction and wear tests revealed that a low concentration of WS2 at 0.14 g/L achieved the lowest coefficient of friction (COF) and superior wear resistance, and a 27-fold increase in mould lifetime, compared with the pure nickel mould tool. Such a significant improvement in tribological properties was due to the formation of self-lubricating transfer film by the interlayer shear effect of few-layered 2D material nanosheets. Finally, defect-free polymeric microfluidic chips were micro hot embossed using an optimal self-lubricating nickel/WS2 mould tool for validation. This work provides significant insight into the fabrication of potential self-lubricating micro/nano mould tools for microfluidics applications.

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