Solid lubricants, antiwear coatings, and self-lubricating composites are used in applications on spacecraft where oils and greases cannot be used because of the need to avoid lubricant volatility/migration, and where the application requires significant temperature variation, accelerated testing, higher electrical conductivity, or operation in boundary conditions. The purpose of this review is to provide spacecraft designers with tools that can aid in the effective use of solid-based tribological materials, both to increase their usage, and to reduce anomalies. The various tribological material formulations are described, including how their materials, physical, and chemical properties affect their performance. Included are typical solid lubricants like PTFE and bonded or sputter-deposited MoS2
, as well as low shear metal coatings, hard coatings, and composite materials (including bulk composites and nanocomposite coatings). Guidance is given on how to develop mechanisms that meet performance requirements, but also how to optimize robustness, so that success is achieved even under unforeseen circumstances. Examples of successful applications are given, as well as how to avoid potential pitfalls, and what the future of solid tribological materials may hold.
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License
which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.