The most slippery material of the world that has ever been created is known as ‘BAM’. It is nearly as hard as diamond and is more slippery as compared to Teflon and is capable of making components last many times longer.
Third hardest to diamond and cubic boron nitride, this innovative material includes boron, aluminium and magnesium (AlMgB14) with titanium boride (TiB2) producing a superhard substance. In 1999, BAM was accidentally discovered at the US Department of Energy Ames Laboratory in Iowa after efforts were being made to make a substance that generates electricity when heated.
The unique composition of BAM has provided it with a very desirable edge. It displayed superb hardness and incredibly low coefficients of friction.
A materials scientist at Iowa State University in Ames, Alan Russell told:
“Its hardness was discovered by accident. We had a terrible time cutting it, grinding it, or polishing it.”
The accidental discovery of BAM, luckily for Ames Lab, steered the development of a $3-million program to promote the progress of the new material into a usable substance that could help significantly increase energy efficiency and material resiliency.
The material has a coefficient of friction less than half that of the former record holding material of Teflon. BAM has a coefficient of friction of 0.02 whereas the coefficient of friction of Teflon is 0.05. For a general reference, a frictional coefficient of 0.16 is maintained by steel.
Through the application of BAM as a micro-thin coating to several different surfaces, thereby offering the energy and longevity benefits of BAM. BAM may perhaps save US industry alone 330 trillion kilojoules (9 billion kilowatt-hours) every year by 2030, translating into about $179 million of savings a year as per the estimates of Bruce Cook, the lead investigator on the Ames Lab project.
Presently, the mechanical physiognomies of BAM are being studied because it is not well known why the material maintains such dexterity. Generally, a material will only show either the characteristics of hardness or low friction points, however it is an utterly new phenomenon in which both were discovered at high degrees within the same material.
BAM has the capability to solve ‘frictional wear’ which is the worst nightmare of every engineer. Friction degrades machines, expends massive amounts of energy, and adds a large degree of complexity to design. But, BAM might help in the alleviation of much of the tension by arranging for a super hard, incredibly slippery material that assists machines last much longer than ever before.