Femtosecond Laser Texturing of Surfaces for Tribological Applications

Materials (Basel). 2018 May 15;11(5):801. doi: 10.3390/ma11050801.


Laser texturing is an emerging technology for generating surface functionalities on basis of optical, mechanical, or chemical properties. Taking benefit of laser sources with ultrashort (fs) pulse durations features outstanding precision of machining and negligible rims or burrs surrounding the laser-irradiation zone. Consequently, additional mechanical or chemical post-processing steps are usually not required for fs-laser surface texturing (fs-LST). This work aimed to provide a bridge between research in the field of tribology and laser materials processing. The paper reviews the current state-of-the-art in fs-LST, with a focus on the tribological performance (friction and wear) of specific self-organized surface structures (so-called ripples, grooves, and spikes) on steel and titanium alloys. On the titanium alloy, specific sickle-shaped hybrid micro-nanostructures were also observed and tribologically tested. Care is taken to identify accompanying effects affecting the materials hardness, superficial oxidation, nano- and microscale topographies, and the role of additives contained in lubricants, such as commercial engine oil.

Keywords: additives; femtosecond laser processing; friction; laser-induced periodic surface structures; lubricants; metals; oil; steel; surface texture; tribological tests; wear.