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Lubricants 2013, 1(4), 102-131; doi:10.3390/lubricants1040102

Experimental Investigations of Biological Lubrication at the Nanoscale: The Cases of Synovial Joints and the Oral Cavity

Biomedical Sciences, Faculty of Health and Society, Malmö University, Malmö 20506, Sweden
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Received: 27 September 2013 / Revised: 24 October 2013 / Accepted: 7 November 2013 / Published: 25 November 2013
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Nanotribology and Atomic Mechanisms of Friction)
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Abstract

Interactions between surfaces are ubiquitous phenomena in living organisms. Nature has developed sophisticated strategies for lubricating these systems, increasing their efficiency and life span. This includes the use of water-based lubricants, such as saliva and synovial fluid. These fluids overcome the limitations of water as a lubricant by the presence of molecules such as proteins, lipids, and polysaccharides. Such molecules may alter surface interactions through different mechanisms. They can increase viscosity enabling fluid-film lubrication. Moreover, molecules adsorb on the surfaces providing mechanisms for boundary lubrication and preventing wear. The mentioned molecules have typical sizes in the nanometer range. Their interaction, as well as the interaction with the entrapping surfaces, takes place through forces in the range of nanonewtons. It is therefore not surprising that the investigation of these systems have been boosted by development of techniques such as scanning probe microscopies and the surface force apparatus which allow studying tribological processes at the nanoscale. Indeed, these approaches have generated an enormous amount of studies over the last years. The aim of this review is to perform a critical analysis of the current stage of this research, with a main focus on studies on synovial joints and the oral cavity. View Full-Text
Keywords: biological lubrication; nanotribology; atomic force microscope; surface force apparatus; synovial joint; synovial fluid; oral cavity; saliva biological lubrication; nanotribology; atomic force microscope; surface force apparatus; synovial joint; synovial fluid; oral cavity; saliva
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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY 3.0).

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MDPI and ACS Style

Sotres, J.; Arnebrant, T. Experimental Investigations of Biological Lubrication at the Nanoscale: The Cases of Synovial Joints and the Oral Cavity. Lubricants 2013, 1, 102-131.

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