Hydration lubrication: Exploring a new paradigm

Anastasya Gaisinskaya, Liran Ma, Gilad Silbert, Raya Sorkin, Odeya Tairy, Ronit Goldberg, Nir Kampf, Jacob Klein*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Lubrication by hydration shells that surround, and are firmly attached to, charges in water, and yet are highly fluid, provide a new mode for the extreme reduction of friction in aqueous media. We report new measurements, using a mica surface-force balance, on several different systems which exhibit hydration lubrication, extending earlier studies significantly to shed new light on the nature and limits of this mechanism. These include lubrication by hydrated ions trapped between charged surfaces, and boundary lubrication by surfactants, by poly-zwitterionic brushes and by close-packed layers of phosphatidylcholine vesicles. Sliding friction coefficients as low as 10 -4 or even lower, and mean contact pressures of up to 17 MPa or higher are indicated. This suggests that the hydration lubrication mechanism may underlie low-friction sliding in biological systems, in which such pressures are rarely exceeded.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)217-233
Number of pages17
JournalFaraday Discussions
StatePublished - 2012
Externally publishedYes


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