The design of tribological interfaces is often motivated by a quest to minimize friction and wear. Among the many strategic design principles that have been developed to this end, the simple idea of decoupling frictional force from normal load is especially attractive. Recent work from this laboratory demonstrates that under certain conditions, it is possible to reduce this coupling significantly with the result that the friction coefficient appears to be very low. However, the materials design requirements to achieve this end are rather stringent. Furthermore, modern methods enable one under some conditions to measure directly the structure and motions of lubricants during tribological sliding.

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