4.11.2019

A Theory of Friction

This theory of friction is simple, the transfer of electrons from one surface to another surface is the primary cause of friction.  So triboelectric charging is the main cause of friction.  You may be wondering then why is teflon so low friction even though it is a highly negatively charging triboelectric material?  Well because it actually doesn't steal many electrons.  Since it is highly insulative and its fluorines (the reason it is so toxic) are highly electronegative and do not give up electrons easily.  So yes it does steal some electrons, but not very many and it is great at not giving them up, this is why it is so low on friction.

So if this is true how do we leverage this to make the next generation of low friction materials, particularly to air (or other fluids) resistance? Well air for example is typically positively charging.  This means air looses electrons to surfaces it is blowing over.  The more the surface steals electrons from the air, the more air resistance it has (basically any way the surface changes the energy of the air will create resistance but we already know about the mechanical aspect, streamlining, so this topic is beyond streamlining).  What we are talking about here is how to reduce drag when you already have a smooth and flat as possible surface.

The answer is that you charge the surface.  This can be harder to do than it seems.  You can't just hook the negative terminal of a battery up to something and expect it to have a negative charge, it doesn't work like that.  What my idea is is to create a preferably thin capacitive surface.  Similar to my tribogon/triborgone idea, but instead of those which are passive stealing/donating charge, we will actively generate a charge.  So take the triborgone idea, basically you have a skin that gives up electrons.  But this time you are charging the outside surface negatively and the inside surface positively say for example with a battery (or capacitor).  This is possible and easy to do, you just connect the negative terminal of the battery to the outer surface and the positive terminal to the inner surface.  This is how you charge a capacitor.

Which way to you hook it up?  I believe that you would hook it up so the negative charge is on the outside facing the friction source (like air).  The reason for this is if the positive charge was outside, it would be stealing electrons from the air and this process creates friction.  So if we charge the surface negatively, then it will give off electrons and the air will not be slowed down for the surface to strip electrons from the air, the air will simply slip over the electron laden surface.  So like triborgone, you may want a positive tribocharging material coated super thinly on a current collector.  The current collector would be the thing that is charged negatively, and the positive tribocharging materialcoated over that current collector would be the thing that interfaces with the air.  This positively tribocharging material would act as a diode, biasing the electrons to flow outwards from the surface into the air.

Now this is interesting because human skin or animal fur or feathers would act in this exact way.  The animal has electrons inside it and the positive tribocharging surface (skin/fur/feathers) would bias the electron flow out of the animal and into the air, doing exactly what we say in this theory.

Now there is one more wildcard, water evaporation.  Water evaporation is interesting because it acts like a battery.  Basically water needs to loose hydrogen bond energy to evaporate.  In a battery where the metal atoms are electrostatically bound together, loosing this bond energy in the form of electrons is what causes the metal to dissolve.  Loosing hydrogen bond energy from water allows it to "dissolve" into water vapor.  So water can be used as a source of negative energy if needed.  Not sure exactpy this couod help us other than provide a free source of electrons.  Water is just under air on the triboelectric series therefore charges negatively when air blows over it.  This is not really what we want so we wouod have to have something that charges positively in air connected to the water so that electrons are pulled out of the water and the water evaporates to compensate for the loss in its bond energy.  So water evaporating may just be a byproduct of negative energy flow from water into the air.  Mabye that is how hair works, hair donates negative energy to the air and in the process uses bond energy from water causing it to evaporate which also cools the animal.

So basically the gist is that however itnis accomplished, the air facing surface of a material must donate electrons to the air (or fluid) in some way to reduce drag.  This can be done passively or actively.  Even if done actively (like with a battery), which will cost energy, I still think the net effect will be more efficient travel if done right.

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