Low Friction Coatings

Low friction coatings provide improved performance and service life while eliminating the need for wet lubricants in operating environments that require resistance to heat, chemicals, or clean room conditions. By reducing friction between two mating surfaces it's possible to extend the wear life of components. If the objective is to have a wear in period for the parts to size together, then a thicker coating solution might be required. If the application is an item with close tolerances or preload factors such as a bearing, then a very thin coating would be best to reduce friction. With years of experience and knowledge of applying low friction coatings to materials such as steel, aluminum, titanium, magnesium, carbon fiber, plastic, and rubber we help solve friction problems in a wide range of applications.

Low Friction Coating Selection Guide

Low Friction Coatings Specifications:

Low Friction Coating Coefficient of Friction Thickness (in.) Cure Temperature Operating Temperature
Tungsten Disulfide (WS2) 0.035 0.00002" Ambient 1,200°F
Nicklon (Nickel Teflon®) 0.065 0.0002" - 0.002" 200°F 500°F
Nicklon Plus (Nickel Teflon® Plus) 0.065 0.0002 - 0.002" 750°F 500°F
Molybdenum Disulfide (MoS2) 0.07 0.0005" Ambient to 400°F 500°F
Teflon® 0.08 0.0006" - 0.0010" 350°F - 715°F 500°F
Xylan® 0.08 0.0006" - 0.0010" 350°F - 715°F 500°F
Tungsten Disulfide (WS2)
Tungsten Disulfide (WS2) is a low friction dry lubricant coating that improves performance and service life better than other dry lubricants by reducing friction, improving mold release, and solving problems of excessive wear, seizing, galling and fretting. It is ideal for situations demanding close tolerances, high heat, and clean room conditions and was originally developed to eliminate galling of stainless steel on stainless steel, steel on steel or aluminum on aluminum and can take high loads & pressures. Because Tungsten Disulfide (WS2) is applied at ambient temperatures it can even be applied to materials such as carbon fiber that can not be heated to the temperatures required for PTFE application.
Nicklon (Nickel Teflon®)
Nicklon is a homogeneous distribution of autocatalytic nickel and PTFE and combines the benefits of reduced friction and increased corrosion resistance, making them perfect for rubber injection molds, there is a continual renewal of PTFE as the component surface sustains normal wear.
Nicklon Plus (Nickel Teflon® Plus)
Nicklon Plus takes the original Nicklon coating a step further by adding an additional low friction top coat that makes the coating harder.
Molybdenum Disulfide (MoS2)
Molybdenum disulfide (MoS2) is a dry film lubricant that prevents corrosion, galling, seizing and fretting to extend wear life when operating at temperatures between -350°F and +500°F and is suitable when a "wear in" period is necessary and a thicker coating is desired.
Teflon® PTFE non-stick coatings have a low coefficient of friction and temperature resistance up to 500°F. They also offer good abrasion and chemical resistance and can be applied to aluminum, carbon steel and stainless steel and address the low friction needs of engine components, compressors, pumps, and actuating devices.
Xylan is a dry film lubricant that is used on a number of surfaces to reduce friction even at high loads, prevent wear and galling, and provide additional lubrication. It is availible in a number of different formulations to best perform with the component requirement.

Test Results of Low Friction Coatings for Bearings & Gears to Improve Fuel, Battery & Engine Efficiency

Micro Surface partnered with a leading bearing manufacturer and testing facility to compare the performance of bearings coated with MSC's low friction Tungsten Disulfide (WS2) coating against an uncoated standard set of bearings. The first set tested was a Timken 2690 tapered roller bearing with Timken 2631 tapered roller bearing cup under the following protocols.

  1. Eight sets of stock bearings were purchased and half (4) were coated with Tungsten Disulfide (WS2).
  2. All bearings were lubricated with Aeroshell 22 high performance grease prior to testing.
  3. Bearings were installed in the test rig to undergo testing of increasing Axial and Radial loads at increasing speeds.
  4. Bearings were run through the testing protocols until excessive vibration was visible or temperatures reached 300°F.

The uncoated bearings made it through 4 hours of testing and failed due to high vibration after a few minutes into hour 4 while testing for the WS2 coated bearings stopped during measurements after 7.5 hours due to the temperature reaching 300F. The result of this testing showed that the Tungsten Disulfide (WS2) coated bearings lasted nearly twice as long and endured more rigorous testing conditions than the uncoated bearings while requiring a significantly lower level of torque and ran at a lower operating temperature. By reducing friction, the Tungsten Disulfide (WS2) coating enables the bearing to turn with a lower amount of torque required, resulting in a corresponding amount of energy being saved by requiring less power to turn the bearing. For electric motor and powertrain manufacturers this results in improved electric motor efficiency, increased mileage and a longer battery lifetime by reducing the number of charging cycles.

Results of WS2 Coated and Uncoated Tapered Roller Bearings Testing

Elapsed Time (hr)Speed (RPM)Axial LoadRadial LoadCoated TorqueUncoated TorqueCoated Temp (F)Uncoated Temp (F)
Torque Comparison of Tungsten Disulfide (WS2) Coated & Uncoated Bearings with Grease
Torque Comparison of Tungsten Disulfide Coated & Uncoated Bearings with Grease.

Temperature comparison of Tungsten Disulfide (WS2) Coated & Uncoated Bearings with Grease
Temperature comparison of Tungsten Disulfide Coated & Uncoated Bearings with Grease.

According to the U.S. Department of Energy, a third of an automobiles fuel or electric energy consumption is spent overcoming friction which has a direct impact on emissions and miles per gallon (MPG) or Miles per gasoline equivalent (MPGe). However, by coating components of a car with a coating like Tungsten Disulfide WS2, it is possible to reduce the friction on the rubbing and turning of various mechanical parts in the engine, transmission, and exhaust systems such as gears, bearings, pistons, and shafts and as a result improve fuel or energy consumption and emissions and lower CO2 emissions.

Although adding a low friction coating adds an additional initial expense to the cost of a component, the long term benefits that are realized far outweigh this by reducing energy consumption which saves money and fuel or battery power and also allowing production to continue for an extended period.

Engine Energy Loss from Friction Chart
Automobile Energy Consumption Breakdown
Energy OutputEnergy Consumed %
Mechanical Power
Rolling Resistance11.5%
Air Drag5%