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An Introduction to Low Friction Coatings

Friction plays an immense role in the wear and tear of metal components. The right amount of friction can help the operation of certain machines like engines, electrostatic generators, and machine shop tools. However, excess friction can lead to degradation of parts. To meet both requirements, a certain type of coating is required, which will enable surfaces to make contact with each other, while ensuring less component degradation. Low friction coatings are the solution to this requirement.

A Brief Description of Low Friction Coatings

As the name suggests, these coatings are designed to have a low coefficient of friction. Low friction coatings are tribological, meaning they are associated with mechanisms comprising wear, friction, and lubrication.

When they are applied onto two contacting surfaces, the coatings not only help reduce friction, but also reduce energy losses. Hence, these coatings improve the efficiency of the components and the machine.

They are mainly used to increase the wear life of a component. Generally, low friction coatings are used on metals such as cast iron, steel, and anodized aluminum. However, they can also be used on magnesium and titanium.

Benefits of Low Friction Coatings

The fact that these coatings reduce wear and friction provides a variety of economical, and environmental benefits.

  • Low friction between two surfaces will result in less heat generation, and low fuel consumption.
  • Many machine parts are expensive to manufacture. The use of these coatings can extend the time between component maintenance and replacement.
  • Low friction coatings can also be used in extreme environments, comprising high vacuums, pressures, and temperatures.
  • The coating thickness only needs to be from 0.0001 to 0.0005ʺ to achieve long term low friction.
  • The average processing temperature is about 400 oF. However, they can be processed at room temperature.
  • The coatings can be applied using a variety of techniques. These include spraying, vapor deposition, and component dipping.

It is for these reasons that low friction coatings are used for applications such as cutting and forming tools, machine components. We will be discussing more about these coatings in future posts. Please visit our website at, email us at or call at +1 408-723-0700 for more information on any of our coatings or products.

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