Friction is one of the main sources of dissipation. For instance, about one third of the world mechanical energy is dissipated into friction . Understanding nanoscale friction at the interface between a liquid and a solid is also crucial for the development of efficient membranes for water desalination and power harvesting. Researchers at UCL in a collaboration study with Laurent Joly, from the University of Lyon, have investigated the friction properties of liquid water at the interface with graphene and with an hexagonal boron nitride sheet, using ab initio molecular dynamics for the first time. They found the striking result that the friction coefficient on boron nitride is ≈3 times larger than that on graphene although the structure of the water layers on the two sheets is almost identical.
This study (recently published in Nano Letters) has recently appeared on the Research Highlights of Nature Nanotechnology.
Journal link:Nano Lett. 14, 6872–6877 (2014)
Research Highlights in Nature Nanotechnology: http://www.nature.com/nnano/reshigh/2015/0115/full/nnano.2014.330.html
 Szeri, A. Z. Tribology: Friction, Lubrication, and Wear (Hemisphere, 1980).