Theoretical issues of nano graphite lube

(Pastor Browning) #1

When I hear about people adding supposed nanoparticle graphite to their bearings, but that you might need to break it in past the crunching phase, it makes me realize the particles have accreted to where they aren’t individual nanoparticles anymore, and I have experience (bane of my existence) with how difficult they can be to separate.
I was helping develop an adhesive with nano-modifiers and learned a bit about nanoparticles and available nano-powders.
I thought I could just get, say, carbon in nano-sized particles, add them to glue, and have nanoparticles in glue that would soak into microscopic pores.
Problem was accretion.
Nanopowders accrete into chunks of material and have to be blasted with powerful ultrasonic disturbance while becoming suspended in a fluid that will keep them separate, sometimes by viscosity even if low/thin to us relatively speaking.
They can be masticated etc. by other special means, but if we’re just crunching the chunks up with ball bearings in a yoyo, it makes me wonder if nano-graphite is at all superior to regular graphite powder products that come in comparatively enormous containers for garage door slides etc.
It seems the ball bearings would crush either product only into small enough particles to work i.e. it’s not a special nanopowder dispersion method, and graphite powders tend to work well period because it is so fine. So it makes me want to try them side by side. I’ve had graphite so compressed I couldn’t even render it as smooth as big box store dry lube using a hammer, but I realize that might be an extreme. Has anyone who loves graphite nanoparticle dry lube ever compared its performance against big box store dry lube than comes in a comparatively gargantuan quantity for the same price? I’d actually like to hear that the specialized yoyo sport product is superior, since a little goes a long way, anyway… but I also want to use what’s best, and the non-nano-touting regular graphite dry lube for general use doesn’t even come accreted and in need of “crunching”. Perhaps the yoyo does disperse the nanoparticles in time, better than general purpose graphite, but from experience in adhesive engineering I can’t take for granted it does for sure. It could theoretically be worse due to accretion of nanoparticles wanting to create a harder, denser solid than non-nano graphite, but I’m not saying it does.
I’m just saying a lot of people setting out to “develop” a product modified by nanoparticles, by simply ordering nanopowder and dumping it in a fluid, find they have larger, harder, amlost crystalline chunks of material instead of smaller particles than they did when they used regular micro-fine particles that broke down easier. Then they look at getting an expensive ultrasonic dispersion machine and/or how such a thing ruins their budget… nanoparticles don’t behave the same as micro-fine particles of the same material. They can attract each other and bond into hard hunks worse than particles that are still silty-fine like paint or pigment, and be more difficult to break back up. Graphite chunks even accreted densely won’t scratch your steel, but the idea is for it to get small enough and between surfaces, in tiny gaps, so size matters.


There are a few folks here who mess with graphite (dry lube) but I personally do not. I have zero experience. I do have a small bottle of the graphite suspension lube that YYF sells, the Dark Matter™ but I haven’t gotten around to trying it yet.

I’ve had great results with trumpet valve oil thin lube to date.

Anyone who does use graphite dry lube… why? What about it works better than plain old thin oil lube?

(Pastor Browning) #3

I too have skipped the added dimension of inevitable tinkering and testing I get into with such a thing, for now, but only because I have so much going on. I won’t be able to resist at some point. I’m trying a teflon modifier in thin oil now, tho.
The Dark Matter seems to come suspended in liquid, and folks who accidently leave it open and let it evaporate report a fine powder, so that seems like a good sign for one who wants to mess with it.
I hear it’s particularly sought for the “Terrapin X” hybrid steel/ceramic bearings that say don’t use oil, use nothing or graphite or a nano graphite product.
But to me “graphite” and “crunching to break it in” for some products raises a red flag that sounds a wannabe nanopowder that has accreted into a harder, possibly more troublesome material than just plain, soft graphite general purpose dry lube. One that mightn’t get where it needs to go as well.
But one of the best things about yoyos and banjos is the proof is in the puddin’.
And when my yoyo hits the floor I nearly leave puddin’ in my knickers, but that’s a different topic…