2018 Scholarship Winner Feature – Nikolay Garabedian

STLE Section Awards Scholarship to University of Delaware Doctoral Student

L to R: Scholarship Committee Member Salvatore Rea , Professor David Burris, Scholarship Awardee Nikolay Garabedian, & Scholarship Committee Member Tom O’Brien

The Philadelphia Section of the STLE is pleased to award a scholarship to Nikolay Garabedian, a doctoral student in Mechanical Engineering at the University of Delaware.

Because friction governs the limits, durability, efficiency, and control of virtually all machines, it emerges repeatedly as a technological barrier. While the fundamental atomic scale interactions underlying friction are well-known, they remain disconnected from the macroscale friction that governs machine performance. A primary limitation is experimental. Atomic force microscopy (AFM) measurements are typically limited to contact forces below ~100 nN. Macroscale friction measurements are typically made well above 10 mN.

Nick’s research objective is to systematically study friction of model tribomaterials from 1 nN to 1 N. By mounting colloids at midspan on commercial AFM cantilevers, he has successfully performed AFM friction experiments at loads from 1 nN to 1mN. Using established methods in his lab, he designed and built a custom microtribometer capable of friction measurements at loads down to 10 μN. Nick has mapped the friction response of single crystal MoS2, a model solid lubricant, from 100 nN to 10 mN with the same steel colloid at a slip speed of 5 μm/s.

Nick is using these methods to systematically study and elucidate the interdependent effects of load, contact area, and pressure on scale-dependent friction.