It is shown that the tribological quality of MoS2 lubricant films formed by magnetron sputtering is determined by the choice of sputtering conditions. By selecting the appropriate conditions, films of extremely high lubricity and endurance (in vacuum), which are well suited to many space applications, are obtained. Such MoS2 films, when applied to precision ball hearings, give rise to the lowest torques (for the given test conditions) yet seen in our laboratory. While a remarkably good performance is obtained in vacuum, tests in air show a marked deterioration in lubricating qualities. It is demonstrated that this is attributable to the adsorption of water vapor on MoS2 surfaces and that the degree of deterioration is related to the partial pressure of water vapor present. Analysis of results indicates that the factors relevant to obtaining optimum films are deposition rate and film composition.
NASA. Lewis Research Center The 20th Aerospace Mechanics Symposium; p 103-119