The co-polymer poly(L-lysine)-g-poly(ethylene glycol) (PLL-g-PEG) has been investigated as a potential biomimetic boundary-lubrication additive for aqueous lubrication systems. In this work, the influence of the co-polymer's architecture on its tribological performance has been investigated. The architectural parameters investigated comprise side-chain (PEG) length, Lys/PEG grafting ratio and backbone chain (PLL) length. The tribological approaches applied in this work include ultra-thin-film interferometry, the mini-traction machine (MTM), and pin-on-disk tribometry. Both an increase in the molecular weight of the PEG side chains and a reduction in the grafting ratio result in an improvement in the lubricating properties of aqueous PLL-g-PEG solution at low speeds. MTM measurements show that an increase in the molecular weight of the PLL backbone results in an increase of the coefficient of friction.
Müller, M., S. Lee, H. A. Spikes, N, D. Spencer