Ultra-low Friction Films of Molybdenum Sulphide


Bearings for ultra-low friction films of molybdenum sulphide

Technology abstract

The European Space Tribology Laboratory (ESTL), operated by UK tribology specialists ESR Technology, is the leading supplier of thin film solid lubricants to the space industry. ESTL's MoSfilms exhibit a friction coefficient in vacuum of ≤0.01 in pure sliding, typically a factor of 10-50 lower than conventional surfaces. The MoS2 films have been proven over several decades on a range of demanding space missions.

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Technology Description

ESTL's MoS2 films exhibit ultra-low friction properties in vacuum and inert environments, both in cryogenic and high temperature applications. In particular, the thin films of MoSoffer high endurance under pure sliding motion. The films are deposited using proprietary techniques, to provide sub-micron accuracy and therefore adherence to engineering tolerances required for high precision components, such as ball bearings.

With proven space-flight heritage in a large number of mechanisms aboard high profile space missions, these thin films offer significant value for terrestrial vacuum applications where reliability and quality are required. ESR Technology have significant expertise relating to the design, production, and testing of these MoS2 thin films in tribological systems, with extensive performance validation. ESTL’s proprietary deposition processes are comprehensively validated in a range of spacecraft applications, ensuring the highest quality and reliability.

Innovations & Advantages

  • Ultra-low friction properties in vacuum and inert environments
  • Suitable for a range of temperatures from cryogenic to high temperature applications 
  • Long endurance under pure sliding motion
  • Ability to uniformly coat complex surfaces

Further Information

Current and Potential Domains of Application


  • Spacecraft mechanisms including precision bearings, gears, and screws


  • Cryogenic systems
  • UHV (Ultra High Vacuum) systems
  • Fusion energy applications
  • Synergistic lubrication applications (i.e. in combination with other lubricants)