Intrinsic Effect of Alkali Concentration on Oxidation Reactivity and High-Temperature Lubricity of Silicate Melts between Rubbed Steel/Steel Contacts
The present study investigated oxidation reactivity and hot lubricity of a sodium silicate melt at different Na2O/SiO2 ratios under elevated temperature stimulation. Static oxidation prevention was achieved at 920 °C when the Na2O/SiO2 ratio reached 1:3 (trisilicate) and 1:2 (disilicate), but it started to deteriorate in the case of 1:1 (metasilicate). At a high concentration of sodium (metasilicate), a severe corrosion reaction between the melt and oxide took place that resulted in a composite coating on the steel substrate. This high-temperature reaction accelerated the formation of ionic charges from the steel base and promoted oxidation. However, friction and wear reduction is proportional to an increase in the sodium oxide fraction. Metasilicate (1:1) exhibited excellent lubricity under the hot frictional test at 920 °C compared to other lubricants. It was due to the formation of the sodium-saturated surfaces and an amorphous silica layer, which was associated with the high-temperature reactivity of sodium toward the oxide surface. In addition, the NaFeO2-Fe2O3 composite film, as the reaction product of individual sodium charge and oxide, plays a significant role in maintaining the tribofilm stability for metasilicate, which was not present for disilicate. This study advances the understanding of how sodium-containing compounds perform oxidation prevention and generate lubricity at hot rubbed surfaces.