In this work, the ability of ashless anti-wear additives to form protective tribofilms on diamond-like carbon (DLC) and steel surfaces was investigated and compared to the reactions of ZnDTP. Reciprocating sliding tests were performed under mild tribological conditions for steel/steel and DLC/DLC contacts to avoid wearing through the DLC coating. A comparison of the friction behavior of ZnDTP with two ashless additives, a butylated triphenyl phosphorothionate (b-TPPT) and an amine phosphate (AP), indicated that the latter additive behaved in a different manner to the first two. b-TPPT shows the lowest friction coefficient for DLC/DLC contacts whereas the AP give the lowest friction coefficient for steel sliding against steel. AFM and ESEM were performed to analyze the surfaces and showed the build up of tribofilms from ZnDTP and b-TPPT onto both the steel and DLC surfaces. No evidence of such a film formation on DLC was observed when the AP were used.
Keywords: DLC, ZnDTP, Ashless additives, Amine phosphate, Phosphorothionate, Reciprocating sliding