Increasing use of DLC coatings in oil-lubricated, mechanical systems has led to a great deal of interest in optimising the interactions between lubricant additives and coatings. We have looked at the formation of a tribofilm from ZnDTP on diamond-like carbon (DLC) when sliding in oil against DLC on a polished steel substrate under very low wear conditions. It was found that the tribofilm formed in the absence of iron adhered very weakly to the surface and could be removed by washing in an ultrasonic bath. The wear was too low to be detected with laser profilometry. AFM imaging of the surfaces of steel and DLC after sliding of steel/steel and DLC/DLC showed that the tribofilm formed on DLC had a very different morphology to that formed on steel. EDX was used to demonstrate that the tribofilm contained zinc, sulphur and phosphorus. ToF-SIMS measurements showed that iron was neither present at the DLC surface nor in the tribofilm.
Keywords: Diamond-like carbon, ZnDTP, Friction, Tribofilm, Tribochemistry