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Category: Tribology Testing

 

Glass Coating Humidity Wear Testing by Tribometer

Glass Coating Humidity Wear Testing by Tribometer

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GLASS COATING HUMIDITY

WEAR TESTING BY TRIBOMETER

Prepared by

DUANJIE LI, PhD

INTRODUCTION

Self-cleaning glass coating creates an easy-clean glass surface that prevents buildup of grime, dirt and staining. Its self-cleaning feature significantly reduces the frequency, time, energy and cleaning costs, making it an attractive choice for a variety of residential and commercial applications, such as glass facade, mirrors, shower glasses, windows and windshields.

IMPORTANCE OF WEAR RESISTANCE OF SELF-CLEANING GLASS COATING

A major application of the self-cleaning coating is the exterior surface of the glass facade on skyscrapers. The glass surface is often attacked by high-speed particles carried by strong winds. The weather condition also plays a major role in the service lifetime of the glass coating. It can be very difficult and costly to surface treat the glass and apply the new coating when the old one fails. Therefore, the wear resistance of the glass coating under
different weather condition is critical.


In order to simulate the realistic environmental conditions of the self-cleaning coating in different weather, repeatable wear evaluation in a controlled and monitored humidity is needed. It allows users to properly compare the wear resistance of the self-cleaning coatings exposed to different humidity and to select the best candidate for the targeted application.

MEASUREMENT OBJECTIVE

In this study, we showcased that the NANOVEA T100 Tribometer equipped with a humidity controller is an ideal tool for investigating the wear resistance of self-cleaning glass coatings in different humidity.

NANOVEA

T100

TEST PROCEDURES

The soda lime glass microscope slides were coated with self-clean glass coatings with two different treatment recipes. These two coatings are identified as Coating 1 and Coating 2. An uncoated bare glass slide is also tested for comparison.


NANOVEA Tribometer equipped with a humidity control module was used to evaluate the tribological behavior, e.g. coefficient of friction, COF, and wear resistance of the self-clean glass coatings. A WC ball tip (6 mm dia.) was applied against the tested samples. The COF was recorded in situ. The humidity controller attached to the tribo-chamber precisely controlled the relative humidity (RH) value in the range of ±1 %. The wear track morphology was examined under the optical microscope after the wear tests.

MAXIMUM LOAD 40 mN
RESULTS & DISCUSSION

The pin-on-disk wear tests in different humidity conditions were conducted on the coated and uncoated glass
samples. The COF was recorded in situ during the wear tests as shown in
FIGURE 1 and the average COF is summarized in FIGURE 2. FIGURE 4 compares the wear tracks after the wear tests.


As shown in
FIGURE 1, the uncoated glass exhibits a high COF of ~0.45 once the sliding movement begins in the 30% RH, and it progressively increases to ~0.6 at the end of the 300-revolution wear test. In comparison, the
coated glass samples Coating 1 and Coating 2 show a low COF below 0.2 at the beginning of the test. The COF
of Coating 2 stabilizes at ~0.25 during the rest of the test, while Coating 1 exhibits a sharp increase of COF at
~250 revolutions and the COF reaches a value of ~0.5. When the wear tests are carried out in the 60% RH, the
uncoated glass still shows a higher COF of ~0.45 throughout the wear test. Coatings 1 and 2 exhibit the COF values of 0.27 and 0.22, respectively. In the 90% RH, the uncoated glass possesses a high COF of ~0.5 at the end of the wear test. Coatings 1 and 2 exhibit comparable COF of ~0.1 as the wear test starts. Coating 1 maintains a relatively stable COF of ~0.15. Coating 2, however, fails at ~ 100 revolutions, followed by a significant increase of COF to ~0.5 towards the end of the wear test.


The low friction of the self-clean glass coating is caused by its low surface energy. It creates a very high static
water contact angle and low roll-off angle. It leads to formation of small water droplets on the coating surface in the 90% RH as shown under the microscope in
FIGURE 3. It also results in decrease of the average COF from ~0.23 to ~0.15 for Coating 2 as the RH value increases from 30% to 90%.

FIGURE 1: Coefficient of friction during the pin-on-disk tests in different relative humidity.

FIGURE 2: Average COF during the pin-on-disk tests in different relative humidity.

FIGURE 3: Formation of small water droplets on the coated glass surface.

FIGURE 4 compares the wear tracks on the glass surface after the wear tests in different humidity. Coating 1 exhibits signs of mild wear after the wear tests in the RH of 30% and 60%. It possesses a large wear track after the test in the 90% RH, in agreement with the significant increase of COF during the wear test. Coating 2 shows nearly no sign of wear after the wear tests in both dry and wet environment, and it also exhibits constant low COF during the wear tests in different humidity. The combination of good tribological properties and low surface energy makes Coating 2 a good candidate for self-cleaning glass coating applications in harsh environments. In comparison, the uncoated glass shows larger wear tracks and higher COF in different humidity, demonstrating the necessity of self-cleaning coating technique.

FIGURE 4: Wear tracks after the pin-on-disk tests in different relative humidity (200x magnification).

CONCLUSION

NANOVEA T100 Tribometer is a superior tool for evaluation and quality control of self-cleaning glass coatings in different humidity. The capacity of in-situ COF measurement allows users to correlate different stages of wear process with the evolution of COF, which is critical in improving fundamental understanding of the wear mechanism and tribological characteristics of the glass coatings. Based on the comprehensive tribological analysis on the self-cleaning glass coatings tested in different humidity, we show that Coating 2 possesses a constant low COF and superior wear resistance in both dry and wet environments, making it a better candidate for self-cleaning glass coating applications exposed to different weathers.


NANOVEA Tribometers offer precise and repeatable wear and friction testing using ISO and ASTM compliant rotative and linear modes, with optional high temperature wear, lubrication and tribo-corrosion modules available in one pre-integrated system. Optional 3D non-contact profiler is available for high
resolution 3D imaging of wear track in addition to other surface measurements such as roughness. 

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In-Situ Wear Measurement at High Temperature

In-Situ Wear Measurement at High Temperature

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IN-SITU WEAR MEASUREMENT AT HIGH TEMPERATURE

USING TRIBOMETER

IN-SITU WEAR MEASUREMENT Aerospace Tribometer

Prepared by

Duanjie Li, PhD

INTRODUCTION

The Linear Variable Differential Transformer (LVDT) is a type of robust electrical transformer used to measure linear displacement. It has been widely used in a variety of industrial applications, including power turbines, hydraulics, automation, aircraft, satellites, nuclear reactors, and many others.

In this study, we feature the add-ons of LVDT and high temperature modules of the NANOVEA Tribometer which allow the change of wear track depth of the tested sample to be measured during the wear process at elevated temperatures. This enables users to correlate different stages of wear process with the evolution of COF, which is critical in improving fundamental understanding of the wear mechanism and tribological characteristics of the materials for high temperature applications.

MEASUREMENT OBJECTIVE

In this study. we would like to showcase the capacity of NANOVEA T50 Tribometer for in-situ monitoring the evolution of the wear process of materials at elevated temperatures.

The wear process of the alumina silicate ceramic at different temperatures is simulated in a controlled and monitored manner.

NANOVEA

T50

TEST PROCEDURE

The tribological behavior, e. g. coefficient of friction, COF, and wear resistance of alumina silicate ceramic plates was evaluated by the NANOVEA Tribometer. The alumina silicate ceramic plate was heated up by a furnace from room temperature, RT, to elevated temperatures (400°C and 800°C), followed by the wear tests at such temperatures. 

For comparison, the wear tests were carried out when the sample cooled down from 800°C to 400°C and then to room temperature. An AI2O3 ball tip (6mm dia., Grade 100) was applied against the tested samples. The COF, wear depth and temperature were monitored in-situ.

TEST PARAMETERS

of the pin-on-disk measurement

Tribometer LVDT Sample

The wear rate, K, was evaluated using the formula K=V/(Fxs)=A/(Fxn), where V is the worn volume, F is the normal load, s is the sliding distance, A is the cross-sectional area of the wear track, and n is the number of revolution. Surface roughness and wear track profiles were evaluated by the NANOVEA Optical Profiler, and the wear track morphology was examined using an optical microscope.

RESULTS & DISCUSSION

The COF and wear track depth recorded in-situ are shown in FIGURE 1 and FIGURE 2, respectively. In FIGURE 1, “-I” indicates the test performed when the temperature was increased from RT to an elevated temperature. “-D” represents the temperature decreased from a higher temperature of 800°C.

As shown in FIGURE 1, the samples tested at different temperatures exhibit a comparable COF of ~0.6 throughout the measurements. Such a high COF leads to an accelerated wear process which creates a substantial amount of debris. The wear track depth was monitored during the wear tests by LVDT as shown in FIGURE 2. The tests performed at room temperature before sample heating up and after sample cooling down show that the alumina silicate ceramic plate exhibits a progressive wear process at RT, the wear track depth gradually increases throughout the wear test to ~170 and ~150 μm, respectively. 

In comparison, the wear tests at elevated temperatures (400°C and 800°C) exhibit a different wear behavior – the wear track depth increases promptly at the beginning of the wear process, and it slows down as the test continues. The wear track depths for tests performed at temperatures 400°C-I, 800°C and 400°C-D are ~140, ~350 and ~210 μm, respectively.

COF during pin-on-desk Tests at different temperatures

FIGURE 1. Coefficient of Friction during pin-on-desk tests at different temperatures

Wear track depth of the alumina silicate ceramic plate at different temperatures

FIGURE 2. Evolution of wear track depth of the alumina silicate ceramic plate at different temperatures

The average wear rate and wear track depth of the alumina silicate ceramic plates at different temperatures were measured using NANOVEA Optical Profiler as summarized in FIGURE 3. The wear track depth is in agreement with that recorded using LVDT. The alumina silicate ceramic plate shows a substantially increased wear rate of ~0.5 mm3/Nm at 800°C, compared to the wear rates below 0.2mm3/N at temperatures below 400°C. The alumina silicate ceramic plate does not exhibit significantly enhanced mechanical/tribological properties after the short heating process, possessing a comparable wear rate before and after the heat treatment.

Alumina silicate ceramic, also knows as lava and wonderstone, is soft and machinable before heating treatment. A long process of firing at elevated temperatures up to 1093°C can substantially enhance its hardness and strength, after which diamond machining is required. Such a unique characteristic makes alumina silicate ceramic an ideal material for sculpture.

In this study, we show that heat treatment at a lower temperature that the one required for firing (800°C vs 1093°C) in a short time does not improve the mechanical and tribological characteristics of alumina silicate ceramic, making proper firing an essential process for this material before its usage in the real applications.


Wear rate and wear track depth of the sample at different temperatures 1

FIGURE 3. Wear rate and wear track depth of the sample at different temperatures

CONCLUSION

Based on the comprehensive tribological analysis in this study, we show that the alumina silicate ceramic plate exhibits comparable coefficient of friction at different temperatures from room temperature to 800°C. However, it shows a substantially increased wear rate of ~0.5 mm3/Nm at 800°C, demonstrating the importance of proper heat treatment of this ceramic.

NANOVEA Tribometers are capable of evaluating the tribological properties of materials for applications at high temperatures up to 1000°C. The function of in-situ COF and wear track depth measurements allows users to correlate different stages of wear process with the evolution of COF, which is critical in improving fundamental understanding of the wear mechanism and tribological characteristics of the materials used at elevated temperatures.

NANOVEA Tribometers offer precise and repeatable wear and friction testing using ISO and ASTM compliant rotative and linear modes, with optional high temperature wear, lubrication and tribo-corrosion modules available in one pre-integrated system. NANOVEA’s unmatched range is an ideal solution for determining the full range of tribological properties of thin or thick, soft or hard coatings, films and substrates.

Optional 3D Non-Contact Profilers are available for high resolution 3D imaging of wear tracks in addition to other surface measurements such as roughness.

IN-SITU WEAR MEASUREMENT

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Fretting Wear Testing Tribology

Fretting Wear Evaluation

Fretting Wear Evaluation

 

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Fretting Wear

EVALUATION

Author:

Duanjie Li, PhD

Revised by

Jocelyn Esparza

Fretting Wear Evaluation in Aviation
Fretting Wear Evaluation in Mining and Metallurgy

INTRODUCTION

Fretting is “a special wear process that occurs at the contact area between two materials under load and subject to minute relative motion by vibration or some other force.” When machines are in operation, vibrations inevitably occur in joints that are bolted or pinned, between components that are not intended to move, and in oscillating couplings and bearings. The amplitude of such relative sliding motion is often in the order of micrometers to millimeters. Such repetitive low-amplitude motion causes serious localized mechanical wear and material transfer at the surface, which may lead to reduced production efficiency, machine performance or even damage to the machine.

Importance of Quantitative
Fretting Wear Evaluation

Fretting wear often involves several complex wear mechanisms taking place at the contact surface, including two-body abrasion, adhesion and/or fretting fatigue wear. In order to understand the fretting wear mechanism and select the best material for fretting wear protection, reliable and quantitative fretting wear evaluation is needed. The fretting wear behavior is significantly influenced by the work environment, such as displacement amplitude, normal loading, corrosion, temperature, humidity and lubrication. A versatile tribometer that can simulate the different realistic work conditions will be ideal for fretting wear evaluation.

Steven R. Lampman, ASM Handbook: Volume 19: Fatigue and Fracture
http://www.machinerylubrication.com/Read/693/fretting-wear

MEASUREMENT OBJECTIVE

In this study, we evaluated the fretting wear behaviors of a stainless steel SS304 sample at different oscillation speeds and temperatures to showcase the capacity of NANOVEA T2000 Tribometer in simulating the fretting wear process of metal in a well-controlled and monitored manner.

NANOVEA

T2000

TEST CONDITIONS

The fretting wear resistance of a stainless steel SS304 sample was evaluated by NANOVEA Tribometer using Linear Reciprocating Wear Module. A WC (6 mm diameter) ball was used as the counter material. The wear track was examined using a NANOVEA 3D non-contact profiler. 

The fretting test was performed at room temperature (RT) and 200 °C to study the effect of high temperature on the fretting wear resistance of the SS304 sample. A heating plate on the sample stage heated up the sample during the fretting test at 200 °C. The wear rate, K, was evaluated using the formula K=V/(F×s), where V is the worn volume, F is the normal load, and s is the sliding distance.

Please note that a WC ball as a counter material was used as an example in this study. Any solid material with different shapes and surface finish can be applied using a custom fixture to simulate the actual application situation.

TEST PARAMETERS

of the wear measurements

RESULTS & DISCUSSION

The 3D wear track profile allows direct and accurate determination of the wear track volume loss calculated by the NANOVEA Mountains analysis software. 

The reciprocating wear test at a low speed of 100 rpm and room temperature exhibits a small wear track of 0.014 mm³. In comparison, the fretting wear test carried out at a high speed of 1000 rpm creates a substantially larger wear track with a volume of 0.12 mm³. Such an accelerated wear process may be attributed to the high heat and intense vibration generated during the fretting wear test, which promotes oxidation of the metallic debris and results in severe three-body abrasion. The fretting wear test at an elevated temperature of 200 °C forms a larger wear track of 0.27 mm³.

The fretting wear test at 1000 rpm has a wear rate of 1.5×10-4 mm³/Nm, which is nearly nine times compared to that in a reciprocating wear test at 100 rpm. The fretting wear test at an elevated temperature further accelerates the wear rate to 3.4×10-4 mm³/Nm. Such a significant difference in wear resistance measured at different speeds and temperatures shows the importance of proper simulations of fretting wear for realistic applications.

Wear behavior can change drastically when small changes in testing conditions are introduced into the tribosystem. The versatility of the NANOVEA Tribometer allows measuring wear under various conditions, including high temperature, lubrication, corrosion and others. The accurate speed and position control by the advanced motor enables users to perform the wear test at speeds ranging from 0.001 to 5000 rpm, making it an ideal tool for research/testing labs to investigate the fretting wear in different tribological conditions.

Fretting wear tracks at various conditions

under the optical microscope

Fretting wear tracks at various conditions under the optical microscope

3D WEAR TRACKs PROFILES

provide more insight in fundamental understanding
of the fretting wear mechanism

3d wear track profiles - fretting

measured using different test parameters

RESULT SUMMARY OF WEAR TRACKS

CONCLUSION

In this study, we showcased the capacity of the NANOVEA Tribometer in evaluating the fretting wear behavior of a stainless steel SS304 sample in a well-controlled and quantitative manner. 

The test speed and temperature play critical roles in the fretting wear resistance of the materials. The high heat and intense vibration during the fretting resulted in substantially accelerated wear of the SS304 sample by close to nine times. The elevated temperature of 200 °C further increased the wear rate to 3.4×10-4 mm3/Nm. 

The versatility of the NANOVEA Tribometer makes it an ideal tool for measuring fretting wear under various conditions, including high temperature, lubrication, corrosion and others.

NANOVEA Tribometers offer precise and repeatable wear and friction testing using ISO and ASTM compliant rotative and linear modes, with optional high temperature wear, lubrication and tribo-corrosion modules available in one pre-integrated system. Our unmatched range is an ideal solution for determining the full scope of tribological properties of thin or thick, soft or hard coatings, films and substrates.

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Ball Bearings: Wear Resistance Using Macro Tribology

 
 
 

INTRODUCTION


A ball bearing uses balls to reduce rotational friction and support radial and axial loads. The rolling balls between the bearing races produce much lower coefficient of friction (COF) compared to two flat surfaces sliding against each other. Ball bearings are often exposed to high contact stress levels, wear and extreme environmental conditions such as high temperatures. Therefore, wear resistance of the balls under high loads and extreme environmental conditions is critical for extending the lifetime of the ball bearing to cut down cost and time on repairs and replacements.

Ball bearings can be found in nearly all applications that involve moving parts. They are commonly used in transportation industries such as aerospace and automobile as well as the toy industry that manufactures items such as fidget spinner and skateboards.


BALL BEARING WEAR EVALUATION AT HIGH LOADS


Ball bearings can be made from an extensive list of materials. Commonly used materials range between metals like stainless steel and chrome steel or ceramics such as tungsten carbide (WC) and silicon nitride (Si3n4). To ensure that the manufactured ball bearings possess the required wear resistance ideal for the given application’s conditions, reliable tribological evaluations under high loads are necessary. Tribological testing aids in quantifying and contrasting the wear behaviors of diff­erent ball bearings in a controlled and monitored manner to select the best candidate for the targeted application.


MEASUREMENT OBJECTIVE


In this study, we showcase a Nanovea Tribometer as the ideal tool for comparing the wear resistance of different ball bearings under high loads.


Figure 1:  Setup of the bearing test.


TESTING PROCEDURE

 
The coefficient of friction, COF, and the wear resistance of the ball bearings made of different materials were evaluated by a Nanovea Tribometer. P100 grit sandpaper was used as the counter material. The wear scars of the ball bearings were examined using a Nanovea 3D Non-Contact Profiler after the wear tests concluded. The test parameters are summarized in Table 1. The wear rate, K, was evaluated using the formula K=V/(F×s), where V is the worn volume, F is the normal load and s is the sliding distance. Ball wear scars were evaluated by a Nanovea 3D Non-Contact Profiler to ensure precise wear volume measurement.

The automated motorized radial positioning feature allows the tribometer to decrease the radius of the wear track for the duration of a test. This test mode is called a spiral test and it ensures that the ball bearing always slides on a new surface of the sandpaper (Figure 2). It significantly improves the repeatability of the wear resistance test on the ball. The advanced 20bit encoder for internal speed control and 16bit encoder for external position control provide precise real-time speed and position information, allowing for a continuous adjustment of rotational speed to achieve constant linear sliding speed at the contact.

Please note that P100 Grit sandpaper was used to simplify the wear behavior between various ball materials in this study and can be substituted with any other material surface. Any solid material can be substituted to simulate the performance of a wide range of material couplings under actual application conditions, such as in liquid or lubricant.


Figure 2:  Illustration of the spiral passes for the ball bearing on the sandpaper.


Table 1:  Test parameters of the wear measurements.
 

RESULTS & DISCUSSION

 
Wear rate is a vital factor for determining the service lifetime of the ball bearing, while a low COF is desirable to improve the bearing performance and efficiency. Figure 3 compares the evolution of COF for di­fferent ball bearings against the sandpaper during the tests. The Cr Steel ball shows an increased COF of ~0.4 during the wear test, compared to ~0.32 and ~0.28 for SS440 and Al2O3 ball bearings. On the other hand, the WC ball exhibits a constant COF of ~0.2 throughout the wear test. Observable COF variation can be seen throughout each test which is attributed to vibrations caused by the sliding movement of the ball bearings against the rough sandpaper surface.


 
Figure 3:  Evolution of COF during the wear tests.


Figure 4 and Figure 5 compare the wear scars of the ball bearings after they were measured by an optical microscope and Nanovea Non-Contact optical profiler, respectively, and Table 2 summarizes the results of the wear track analysis. The Nanovea 3D profiler precisely determines the wear volume of the ball bearings, making it possible to calculate and compare the wear rates of different ball bearings. It can be observed that the Cr Steel and SS440 balls exhibit much larger flattened wear scars compared to the ceramic balls, i.e. Al2O3 and WC after the wear tests. The Cr Steel and SS440 balls have comparable wear rates of 3.7×10-3 and 3.2×10-3 m3/N m, respectively. In comparison, the Al2O3 ball shows an enhanced wear resistance with a wear rate of 7.2×10-4 m3/N m. The WC ball barely exhibits minor scratches on the shallow wear track area, resulting in a significantly reduced wear rate of 3.3×10-6 mm3/N m.


Figure 4:  Wear scars of the ball bearings after the tests.


Figure 5:  3D morphology of the wear scars on the ball bearings.
 

Table 2: Wear scar analysis of the ball bearings.


Figure 6 shows microscope images of the wear tracks produced on the sand paper by the four ball bearings. It is evident that the WC ball produced the most severe wear track (removing almost all sand particle in its path) and possesses the best wear resistance. In comparison, the Cr Steel and SS440 balls left a large amount of metal debris on the wear track of the sand paper.

These observations further demonstrate the importance of the benefit of a spiral test. It ensures that the ball bearing always slides on a new surface of the sandpaper, which significantly improves the repeatability of a wear resistance test.


Figure 6:  Wear tracks on the sand paper against different ball bearings.
 



CONCLUSION

The wear resistance of the ball bearings under a high pressure plays a vital role in their service performance. The ceramic ball bearings possess significantly enhanced wear resistance under high stress conditions and reduce the time and cost due to bearing repairing or replacement. In this study, the WC ball bearing exhibits a substantially higher wear resistance compared to the steel bearings, making it an ideal candidate for bearing applications where severe wear takes place.

A Nanovea Tribometer is designed with high torque capabilities for loads up to 2000 N and precise and controlled motor for rotational speeds from 0.01 to 15,000 rpm. It offers repeatable wear and friction testing using ISO and ASTM compliant rotative and linear modes, with optional high temperature wear and lubrication modules available in one pre-integrated system. This unmatched range allows users to simulate different severe work environments of the ball bearings including high stress, wear and high temperature, etc. It also acts as an ideal tool to quantitatively assess the tribological behaviors of superior wear resistant materials under high loads.

A Nanovea 3D Non-Contact Profiler provides precise wear volume measurements and acts as a tool to analyze the detailed morphology of the wear tracks, providing additional insights in the fundamental understanding of wear mechanisms.


Prepared by
Duanjie Li, PhD, Jonathan Thomas, and Pierre Leroux

Avoid Critical Wear Damage By Using Block-On-Ring Tests

IMPORTANCE OF BLOCK-ON-RING WEAR EVALUATION

Sliding wear is the progressive loss of material that results from two materials sliding against each other at the contact area under load. It occurs inevitably in a wide variety of industries where machines and engines are in operation, including automotive, aerospace, oil & gas and many others. Such sliding motion causes serious mechanical wear and material transfer at the surface, which may lead to reduced production efficiency, machine performance or even damage to the machine.
 
Sliding wear often involves complex wear mechanisms taking place at the contact surface, such as adhesion wear, two-body abrasion, three-body abrasion and fatigue wear. The wear behavior of materials is significantly influenced by the work environment, such as normal loading, speed, corrosion and lubrication. A versatile tribometer that can simulate the different realistic work conditions will be ideal for wear evaluation. Block-on-Ring (ASTM G77) test is a widely used technique that evaluates the sliding wear behaviors of mate-rials in different simulated conditions, allows reliable ranking of material couples for specific tribological applications.
 


MEASUREMENT OBJECTIVE

In this application, the Nanovea Mechanical Tester measures the YS and UTS of stainless steel SS304 and aluminum Al6061 metal alloy samples. The samples were chosen for their commonly recognized YS and UTS values showing the reliability of Nanovea’s indentation methods.


The sliding wear behavior of an H-30 block on an S-10 ring was evaluated by Nanovea’s tribometer using the Block-on-Ring module. The H-30 block is made of 01 tool steel of 30HRC hardness, while the S-10 ring is steel type 4620 of surface hardness 58 to 63 HRC and ring diameter of ~34.98 mm. Block-on-Ring tests were performed in dry and lubricated environments to investigate the effect on wear behavior. Lubrication tests were performed in USP heavy mineral oil. The wear track was examined using Nanovea’s 3D non-contact profilometer. Test parameters are summarized in Table 1. The wear rate (K), was evaluated using the formula K=V/(F×s), where V is the worn volume, F is the normal load, s is the sliding distance.

 


RESULTS AND DISCUSSION

Figure 2 compares the coefficient of friction (COF) of the Block-on-Ring tests in dry and lubricated environments. The block has significantly more friction in a dry environment than a lubricated environment. COF fluctuates during the run-in period in the first 50-revolution and reaches a constant COF of ~0.8 for the rest of the 200-revolution wear test. In comparison, the Block-on-Ring test performed in the USP heavy mineral oil lubrication exhibits constant low COF of 0.09 throughout the 500,000-revolution wear test. The lubricant significantly reduces the COF between the surfaces by ~90 times.


Figures 3 and 4 show the optical images and cross-section 2D profiles of the wear scars on the blocks after dry and lubricated wear tests. The wear track volumes and wear rates are listed in Table 2. The steel block after the dry wear test at a lower rotational speed of 72 rpm for 200 revolutions exhibits a large wear scar volume of 9.45 mm˙. In comparison, the wear test carried out at a higher speed of 197 rpm for 500,000 revolutions in the mineral oil lubricant creates a substantially smaller wear track volume of 0.03 mm˙.

 

The images in ÿgure 3 show severe wear takes place during tests in the dry conditions compared to the mild wear from the lubricated wear test. High heat and intense vibrations generated during the dry wear test promotes oxidation of metallic debris resulting in severe three-body abrasion. In the lubricated test the mineral oil reduces friction and cools the contact face as well as transporting abrasive debris created during wear away. This leads to signiÿcant reduction of wear rate by a factor of ~8×10ˆ. Such a substantial di˛erence in wear resistance in di˛erent environments shows the importance of proper sliding wear simulation in realistic service conditions.

 

Wear behavior can change drastically when small changes in test conditions are introduced. The versatility of Nanovea’s tribometer allows wear measurement in high temperature, lubrication, and tribocorrosion conditions. The accurate speed and position control by the advanced motor enables wear tests to be performed at speeds ranging from 0.001 to 5000 rpm, making it an ideal tool for research/testing labs to investigate the wear in di˛erent tribological conditions.


The surface condition of the samples was examined by Nanovea’s non-contact optical proÿlometer. Figure 5 shows the surface morphology of the rings after the wear tests. The cylinder form is removed to better present the surface morphology and roughness created by the sliding wear process. Signiÿcant surface roughening took place due to the three-body abrasion process during the dry wear test of 200 revolutions. The block and ring after the dry wear test exhibit a roughness Ra of 14.1 and 18.1 µm, respectively, compared to 5.7 and 9.1 µm for the long-term 500,000 – revolution lubricated wear test at a higher speed. This test demonstrates the importance of proper lubrication of piston ring-cylinder contact. Severe wear quickly damages the contact surface without lubrication and leads to irreversible deterioration of the service quality and even breakage of the engine.

 

 



 


CONCLUSION


In this study we showcase how Nanovea’s Tribometer is used to evaluate the sliding wear behavior of a steel metal couple using the Block-on-Ring module following the ASTM G77 Standard. The lubricant plays a critical role in the wear properties of the material couple. The mineral oil reduces the wear rate of the H-30 block by a factor of ~8×10ˆ and the COF by ~90 times. The versatility of Nanovea’s Tribometer makes it an ideal tool for measuring wear behavior under various lubrication, high temperature, and tribocorrosion conditions. Nanovea’s Tribometer o˛ers precise and repeatable wear and friction testing using ISO and ASTM compliant rotative and linear modes, with optional high-temperature wear, lubrication, and tribo-corrosion modules available in one pre-integrated system. Nanovea’s unmatched range is an ideal solution for determining the full range of tribological properties of thin or thick, soft, or hard coatings, ÿlms, and substrates.

Wear and Scratch Evaluation of Surface Treated Copper Wire

Wear and Scratch Evaluation of Surface Treated Copper Wire

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Importance of Wear and Scratch Evaluation of Copper Wire

Copper has a long history of use in electric wiring since the invention of the electromagnet and telegraph. Copper wires are applied in a wide range of electronic equipment such as panels, meters, computers, business machines, and appliances thanks to its corrosion resistance, solderability, and performance at elevated temperatures up to 150°C. Approximately half of all mined copper is used for manufacturing electrical wire and cable conductors.

Copper wire surface quality is critical to application service performance and lifetime. Micro defects in wires may lead to excessive wear, crack initiation and propagation, decreased conductivity, and inadequate solderability. Proper surface treatment of copper wires removes surface defects generated during wire drawing improving corrosion, scratch, and wear resistance. Many aerospace applications with copper wires require controlled behavior to prevent unexpected equipment failure. Quantifiable and reliable measurements are needed to properly evaluate the wear and scratch resistance of the copper wire surface.


Measurement Objective

In this application we simulate a controlled wear process of different copper wire surface treatments. Scratch testing measures the load required to cause failure on the treated surface layer. This study showcases the Nanovea Tribometer and Mechanical Tester as ideal tools for evaluation and quality control of electric wires.


Test Procedure and Procedures

Coefficient of friction (COF) and wear resistance of two different surface treatments on copper wires (Wire A and Wire B) were evaluated by the Nanovea tribometer using a linear reciprocating wear module. An Al₂O₃ ball (6 mm diameter) is the counter material used in this application. The wear track was examined using Nanovea’s 3D non-contact profilometer. Test parameters are summarized in Table 1.

A smooth Al₂O₃ ball as a counter material was used as an example in this study. Any solid material with different shape and surface finish can be applied using a custom fixture to simulate the actual application situation.



Nanovea’s mechanical tester equipped with a Rockwell C diamond stylus (100 μm radius) performed progressive load scratch tests on the coated wires using micro scratch mode. Scratch test parameters and tip geometry are shown in Table 2.




Results and Discussion

Wear of copper wire: Figure 2 shows COF evolution of the copper wires during wear tests. Wire A shows a stable COF of ~0.4 throughout the wear test while wire B exhibits a COF of ~0.35 in the first 100 revolutions and progressively increases to ~0.4.



Figure 3 compares wear tracks of the copper wires after tests. Nanovea’s 3D non-contact profilometer offered superior analysis of the detailed morphology of wear tracks. It allows direct and accurate determination of the wear track volume by providing a fundamental understanding of the wear mechanism. Wire B’s surface has signi¬ficant wear track damage after a 600-revolution wear test. The profilometer 3D view shows the surface treated layer of Wire B removed completely which substantially accelerated the wear process. This left a flattened wear track on Wire B where copper substrate is exposed. This may result in significantly shortened lifespan of electrical equipment where Wire B is used. In comparison, Wire A exhibits relatively mild wear shown by a shallow wear track on the surface. The surface treated layer on Wire A did not remove like the layer on Wire B under the same conditions.







Scratch resistance of the copper wire surface: Figure 4 shows the scratch tracks on the wires after testing. The protective layer of Wire A exhibits very good scratch resistance. It delaminates at a load of ~12.6 N. In comparison, the protective layer of Wire B failed at a load of ~1.0 N. Such a significant difference in scratch resistance for these wires contributes to their wear performance, where Wire A possesses substantially enhanced wear resistance. The evolution of normal force, COF, and depth during the scratch tests shown in Fig. 5 provides more insight on coating failure during tests.






Conclusion



In this controlled study we showcased the Nanovea’s tribometer conducting quantitative evaluation of wear resistance for surface treated copper wires and Nanovea’s mechanical tester providing reliable assessment of copper wire scratch resistance. Wire surface treatment plays a critical role in the tribo-mechanical properties during their lifetime. Proper surface treatment on Wire A significantly enhanced wear and scratch resistance, critical in the performance and lifespan of electrical wires in rough environments. Nanovea’s tribometer offers precise and repeatable wear and friction testing using ISO and ASTM compliant rotative and linear modes, with optional high temperature wear, lubrication, and tribo-corrosion modules available in one pre-integrated system. Nanovea’s unmatched range is an ideal solution for determining the full range of tribological properties of thin or thick, soft or hard coatings, films, and substrates.

Dynamic Load Tribology

Introduction

Wear takes place in virtually every industrial sector and imposes costs of ~0.75% of the GDP1. Tribology research is vital in improving production efficiency, application performance, as well as conservation of material, energy, and the environment. Vibration and oscillation inevitably occur in a wide range of tribological applications. Excessive external vibration accelerates the wear process and reduces service performance which leads to catastrophic failures to the mechanical parts.

Conventional dead load tribometers apply normal loads by mass weights. Such a loading technique not only limits the loading options to a constant load, but it also creates intense uncontrolled vibrations at high loads and speeds leading to limited and inconsistent wear behavior assessments. A reliable evaluation of the effect of controlled oscillation on the wear behavior of materials is desirable for R&D and QC in different industrial applications.

Nanovea’s groundbreaking high load tribometer has a maximum load capacity of 2000 N with a dynamic-load control system. The advanced pneumatic compressed air loading system enables users to evaluate the tribological behavior of a material under high normal loads with the advantage of damping undesired vibration created during the wear process. Therefore, the load is measured directly with no need for buffer springs used in older designs. A parallel electromagnet oscillating loading module applies well-controlled oscillation of desired amplitude up to 20 N and frequency up to 150 Hz.

Friction is measured with high accuracy directly from the side force applied to the upper holder. The displacement is monitored in situ, providing insight into the evolution of the wear behavior of the test samples. The wear test under controlled oscillation loading can also be performed in corrosion, high temperature, humidity, and lubrication environments to simulate the real work conditions for the tribological applications. An integrated high-speed non-contact profilometer automatically measures the wear track morphology and wear volume in a few seconds.

 

Measurement Objective

In this study, we showcase the capacity of the Nanovea T2000 Dynamic Load Tribometer in studying the tribological behavior of different coating and metal samples under controlled oscillation loading conditions.

 

 

 

Test Procedure

The tribological behavior, e.g. coefficient of friction, COF, and wear resistance of a 300 µm thick wear-resistant coating was assessed and compared by the Nanovea T2000 Tribometer with a conventional dead load tribometer using a pin on disk setup following ASTM G992.

Separate Cu and TiN coated samples against a 6 mm Al₂0₃ ball under controlled oscillation were evaluated by Dynamic Load Mode of the Nanovea T2000 Tribometer.

The test parameters are summarized in Table 1.

The integrated 3D profilometer equipped with a line sensor automatically scans the wear track after the tests, providing the most accurate wear volume measurement in seconds.

 

 

Results and Discussion

 

Pneumatic loading system vs. Dead load system

 

The tribological behavior of a wear-resistant coating using Nanovea T2000 Tribometer is compared to a conventional dead load (DL) tribometer. The evolution of the COF of the coating are shown in Fig. 2. We observe the coating exhibits a comparable COF value of ~0.6 during the wear test. However, the 20 cross-section profiles at different locations of the wear track in Fig. 3 indicate that the coating experienced much more severe wear under the dead load system.

Intense vibrations were generated by the wear process of the dead load system at high load and speed. The massive concentrated pressure at the contact face combined with a high sliding speed creates substantial weight and structure vibration leading to accelerated wear. The conventional dead load tribometer applies load using mass weights. This method is reliable at lower contact loads under mild wear conditions; however, under aggressive wear conditions at higher loads and speeds, the significant vibration causes the weights to bounce repeatedly, resulting in an uneven wear track causing unreliable tribological evaluation. The calculated wear rate is 8.0±2.4 x 10-4 mm3/N m, showing a high wear rate and large standard deviation.

The Nanovea T2000 tribometer is designed with a dynamic control loading system to dampen the oscillations. It applies the normal load with compressed air which minimizes undesired vibration created during the wear process. In addition, active closed loop loading control ensures a constant load is applied throughout the wear test and the stylus follows the depth change of the wear track. A significantly more consistent wear track profile is measured as shown in Fig. 3a, resulting in a low wear rate of 3.4±0.5 x 10-4 mm3/N m.

The wear track analysis shown in Fig. 4 confirms the wear test performed by the pneumatic compressed air loading system of the Nanovea T2000 Tribometer creates a smoother and more consistent wear track compared to the conventional dead load tribometer. In addition, the Nanovea T2000 tribometer measures stylus displacement during the wear process providing further insight into the progress of the wear behavior in situ.

 

 

Controlled Oscillation on Wear of the Cu sample

The parallel oscillating loading electromagnet module of the Nanovea T2000 Tribometer enables users to investigate the effect of controlled amplitude and frequency oscillations on the wear behavior of materials. The COF of the Cu samples is recorded in situ as shown in Fig. 6. The Cu sample exhibits a constant COF of ~0.3 during the first 330-revolution measurement, signifying the formation of a stable contact at the interface and relatively smooth wear track. As the wear test continues, the variation of the COF indicates a change in the wear mechanism. In comparison, the wear tests under a 5 N amplitude-controlled oscillation at 50 N exhibits a different wear behavior: the COF increases promptly at the beginning of the wear process, and shows significant variation throughout the wear test. Such behavior of COF indicates that the imposed oscillation in the normal load plays a role in the unstable sliding state at the contact.

Fig. 7 compares the wear track morphology measured by the integrated non-contact optical profilometer. It can be observed that the Cu sample under a controlled oscillation amplitude of 5 N exhibits a much larger wear track with a volume of 1.35 x 109 µm3, compared to 5.03 x 108 µm3 under no imposed oscillation. The controlled oscillation significantly accelerates the wear rate by a factor of ~2.7, showing the critical effect of oscillation on wear behavior.

 

Controlled Oscillation on Wear of the TiN Coating

The COF and wear tracks of the TiN coating sample are shown in Fig. 8. The TiN coating exhibits significantly different wear behaviors under oscillation as indicated by the evolution of COF during the tests. The TiN coating shows a constant COF of ~0.3 following the run-in period at the beginning of the wear test, due to the stable sliding contact at the interface between the TiN coating and the Al₂O₃ ball. However, when the TiN coating starts to fail, the Al₂O₃ ball penetrates through the coating and slides against the fresh steel substrate underneath. A significant amount of hard TiN coating debris is generated in the wear track at the same time, turning a stable two-body sliding wear into three-body abrasion wear. Such a change of the material couple characteristics leads to the increased variations in the evolution of COF. The imposed 5 N and 10 N oscillation accelerates the TiN coating failure from ~400 revolutions to below 100 revolutions. The larger wear tracks on the TiN coating samples after the wear tests under the controlled oscillation is in agreement with such a change in COF.

 

Conclusion

The advanced pneumatic loading system of the Nanovea T2000 Tribometer possesses an intrinsic advantage as a naturally quick vibration damper compared to traditional dead load systems. This technological advantage of pneumatic systems is true compared to load-controlled systems that use a combination of servo motors and springs to apply the load. The technology ensures reliable and better-controlled wear evaluation at high loads as demonstrated in this study. In addition, the active closed loop loading system can change the normal load to a desired value during wear tests to simulate real-life applications seen in brake systems.

Instead of having influence from uncontrolled vibration conditions during tests, we have shown the Nanovea T2000 Dynamic-Load Tribometer enables users to quantitatively assess the tribological behaviors of materials under different controlled oscillation conditions. Vibrations play a significant role in the wear behavior of metal and ceramic coating samples.

The parallel electromagnet oscillating loading module provides precisely controlled oscillations at set amplitudes and frequencies, allowing users to simulate the wear process under real-life conditions when environmental vibrations are often an important factor. In the presence of imposed oscillations during wear, both the Cu and the TiN coating samples exhibit substantially increased wear rate. The evolution of the coefficient of friction and stylus displacement measured in situ are important indicators for the performance of the material during the tribological applications. The integrated 3D non-contact profilometer offers a tool to precisely measure the wear volume and analyze the detailed morphology of the wear tracks in seconds, providing more insight into the fundamental understanding of wear mechanism.

The T2000 is equipped with a self-tuned, high-quality, and high torque motor with a 20-bit internal speed and a 16-bit external position encoder. It enables the tribometer to provide an unmatched range of rotational speeds from 0.01 to 5000 rpm that can change in stepwise jumps or at continuous rates. Contrary to systems that use a bottom located torque sensor, the Nanovea Tribometer uses a top located high-precision load cell to accurately and separately measure friction forces.

Nanovea Tribometers offers precise and repeatable wear and friction testing using ISO and ASTM compliant rotative and linear modes (including 4ball, thrust washer, and block on ring tests), with optional high-temperature wear, lubrication and tribo-corrosion modules available in one pre-integrated system. Nanovea T2000’s unmatched range is an ideal solution for determining the full range of tribological properties of thin or thick, soft or hard coatings, films, and substrates.

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Humidity Effect on DLC Coating Tribology

Importance of Wear Evaluation on DLC in Humidity

Diamond-like carbon (DLC) coatings possess enhanced tribological properties, namely excellent wear resistance and a very low coefficient of friction (COF). DLC coatings impart diamond characteristics when deposited on different materials. Favorable tribo-mechanical properties make DLC coatings preferable in various industrial applications, such as aerospace parts, razor blades, metal cutting tools, bearings, motorcycle engines, and medical implants. DLC coatings exhibit very low COF (below 0.1) against steel balls under high vacuum and dry conditions12. However, DLC coatings are sensitive to environmental condition changes, particularly relative humidity (RH)3. Environments with high humidity and oxygen concentration may lead to significant increase in COF4. Reliable wear evaluation in controlled humidity simulates realistic environmental conditions of DLC coatings for tribological applications. Users select the best DLC coatings for target applications with proper comparison of DLC wear behaviors exposed to different humidity.


Measurement Objective

This study showcases the Nanovea Tribometer equipped with a humidity controller is the ideal tool for investigating wear behavior of DLC coatings at various relative humidity.

 

 


Test Procedure

Friction and wear resistance of DLC coatings were evaluated by the Nanovea Tribometer. Test parameters are summarized in Table 1. A humidity controller attached to the tribo-chamber precisely controlled the relative humidity (RH) with an accuracy of ±1%. Wear tracks on DLC coatings and wear scars on SiN balls were examined using an optical microscope after tests. Note: Any solid ball material can be applied to simulate the performance of different material coupling under environmental conditions such as in lubricant or high temperature.




Results and Discussion

DLC coatings are great for tribological applications due to their low friction and superior wear resistance. The DLC coating friction exhibits humidity dependent behavior shown in Figure 2. The DLC coating shows a very low COF of ~0.05 throughout the wear test in relatively dry conditions (10% RH). The DLC coating exhibits a constant COF of ~0.1 during the test as RH increases to 30%. The initial run-in stage of COF is observed in the first 2000 revolutions when RH rises above 50%. The DLC coating shows a maximum COF of ~0.20, ~0.26 and ~0.33 in RH of 50, 70 and 90%, respectively. Following the run-in period, the DLC coating COF stays constant at ~0.11, 0.13 and 0.20 in RH of 50, 70 and 90%, respectively.

 



Figure 3 compares SiN ball wear scars and Figure 4 compares DLC coating wear tracks after the wear tests. The diameter of the wear scar was smaller when the DLC coating was exposed to an environment with low humidity. Transfer DLC layer accumulates on the SiN ball surface during the repetitive sliding process at the contact surface. At this stage, the DLC coating slides against its own transfer layer which acts as an efficient lubricant to facilitate the relative motion and restrain further mass loss caused by shear deformation. A transfer film is observed in the wear scar of the SiN ball in low RH environments (e.g. 10% and 30%), resulting in a decelerated wear process on the ball. This wear process reflects on the DLC coating’s wear track morphology as shown in Figure 4. The DLC coating exhibits a smaller wear track in dry environments, due to the formation of a stable DLC transfer film at the contact interface which significantly reduces friction and wear rate.

 

Conclusion




Humidity plays a vital role in the tribological performance of DLC coatings. The DLC coating possesses significantly enhanced wear resistance and superior low friction in dry conditions due to the formation of a stable graphitic layer transferred onto the sliding counterpart (a SiN ball in this study). The DLC coating slides against its own transfer layer, which acts as an efficient lubricant to facilitate the relative motion and restrain further mass loss caused by shear deformation. A film is not observed on the SiN ball with increasing relative humidity, leading to an increased wear rate on the SiN ball and the DLC coating. The Nanovea Tribometer offers repeatable wear and friction testing using ISO and ASTM compliant rotative and linear modes, with optional humidity modules available in one pre- integrated system. It allows users to simulate the work environment at different humidity, providing users an ideal tool to quantitatively assess the tribological behaviors of materials under different work conditions.

Learn More about the Nanovea Tribometer and Lab Service
1 C. Donnet, Surf. Coat. Technol. 100–101 (1998) 180.
2 K. Miyoshi, B. Pohlchuck, K.W. Street, J.S. Zabinski, J.H. Sanders, A.A. Voevodin, R.L.C. Wu, Wear 225–229 (1999) 65.
3 R. Gilmore, R. Hauert, Surf. Coat. Technol. 133–134 (2000) 437.
4 R. Memming, H.J. Tolle, P.E. Wierenga, Thin Solid Coatings 143 (1986) 31

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Friction Evaluation at Extreme Low Speeds

Friction Evaluation at Extreme Low Speeds

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Importance of Friction Evaluation at Low Speeds

Friction is the force that resists the relative motion of solid surfaces sliding against each other. When the relative motion of these two contact surfaces takes place, the friction at the interface converts the kinetic energy into heat. Such a process can also lead to wear of the material and thus performance degradation of the parts in use.
With a large stretch ratio, high resilience, as well as great waterproof properties and wear resistance, rubber is extensively applied in a variety of applications and products in which friction plays an important role, such as automobile tires, windshield wiper blades. shoe soles and many others. Depending on the nature and requirement of these applications, either high or low friction against different material is desired. As a consequence, a controlled and reliable measurement of friction of rubber against various surfaces becomes critical.



Measurement Objective

The coefficient of friction (COF) of rubber against different materials is measured in a controlled and monitored manner using the Nanovea Tribometer. In this study, we would like to showcase the capacity of Nanovea Tribometer for measuring the COF of different materials at extremely low speeds.




Results and Discussion

The coefficient of friction (COF) of rubber balls (6 mm dia., RubberMill) on three materials (Stainless steel SS 316, Cu 110 and optional Acrylic) was evaluated by Nanovea Tribometer. The tested metal samples were mechanically polished to a mirror-like surface finish before the measurement. The slight deformation of the rubber ball under the applied normal load created an area contact, which also helps to reduce the impact of asperities or inhomogeneity of sample surface finish to the COF measurements. The test parameters are summarized in Table 1.


 

The COF of a rubber ball against different materials at four different speeds is shown in Figure. 2, and the average COFs calculated automatically by the software are summarized and compared in Figure 3. It is interesting that the metal samples (SS 316 and Cu 110) exhibit significantly increased COFs as the rotational speed increases from a very low value of 0.01 rpm to 5 rpm -the COF value of the rubber/SS 316 couple increases from 0.29 to 0.8, and from 0.65 to 1.1 for the rubber/Cu 110 couple. This finding is in agreement with the results reported from several laboratories. As proposed by Grosch4 the friction of rubber is mainly determined by two mechanisms: (1) the adhesion between rubber and the other material, and (2) the energy losses due to the deformation of the rubber caused by surface asperities. Schallamach5 observed waves of detachment of rubber from the counter material across the interface between soft rubber spheres and a hard surface. The force for rubber to peel from the substrate surface and rate of waves of detachment can explain the different friction at different speeds during the test.

In comparison, the rubber/acrylic material couple exhibits high COF at different rotational speeds. The COF value slightly increases from ~ 1.02 to ~ 1.09 as the rotational speed increases from 0.01 rpm to 5 rpm. Such high COF is possibly attributed to stronger local chemical bonding at the contact face formed during the tests.



 
 

 

 




Conclusion



In this study, we show that at extremely low speeds, the rubber exhibits a peculiar frictional behavior – its friction against a hard surface increases with the increased speed of the relative movement. Rubber shows different friction when it slides on different materials. Nanovea Tribometer can evaluate the frictional properties of materials in a controlled and monitored manner at different speeds, allowing users to improve fundamental understanding of the friction mechanism of the materials and select the best material couple for targeted tribological engineering applications.

Nanovea Tribometer offers precise and repeatable wear and friction testing using ISO and ASTM compliant rotative and linear modes, with optional high-temperature wear, lubrication and tribo-corrosion modules available in one pre-integrated system. It is capable of controlling the rotational stage at extremely low speeds down to 0.01 rpm and monitor the evolution of friction in situ. Nanovea’s unmatched range is an ideal solution for determining the full range of tribological properties of thin or thick, soft or hard coatings, films, and substrates.

Learn more about all the features our Nanovea Tribometer offers.

Tribology of Polymers

Introduction

Polymers have been used extensively in a wide variety of applications and have become an indispensable part of everyday life. Natural polymers such as amber, silk, and natural rubber have played an essential role in human history. The fabrication process of synthetic polymers can be optimized to achieve unique physical properties such as toughness, viscoelasticity, self-lubrication, and many others.

Importance of Wear and Friction of Polymers

Polymers are commonly used for tribological applications, such as tires, bearings, and conveyor belts.
Different wear mechanisms occur depending on the mechanical properties of the polymer, the contact conditions, and the properties of the debris or transfer film formed during the wear process. To ensure that the polymers possess sufficient wear resistance under the service conditions, reliable and quantifiable tribological evaluation is necessary. Tribological evaluation allows us to quantitatively compare the wear behaviors of different polymers in a controlled and monitored manner to select the material candidate for the target application.

The Nanovea Tribometer offers repeatable wear and friction testing using ISO and ASTM compliant rotative and linear modes, with optional high-temperature wear and lubrication modules available in one pre-integrated system. This unmatched range allows users to simulate the different work environments of the polymers including concentrated stress, wear, and high temperature, etc.

MEASUREMENT OBJECTIVE

In this study, we showcased that the Nanovea Tribometer is an ideal tool for comparing the friction and wear resistance of different polymers in a well-controlled and quantitative manner.

TEST PROCEDURE

The coefficient of friction (COF) and the wear resistance of different common polymers were evaluated by the Nanovea Tribometer. An Al2O3 ball was used as the counter material (pin, static sample). The wear tracks on the polymers (dynamic rotating samples) were measured using a non-contact 3D profilometer and optical microscope after the tests concluded. It should be noted that a non-contact endoscopic sensor can be used to measure the depth the pin penetrates the dynamic sample during a wear test as an option. The test parameters are summarized in Table 1. The wear rate, K, was evaluated using the formula K=Vl(Fxs), where V is the worn volume, F is the normal load, and s is the sliding distance.

Please note that Al2O3 balls were used as the counter material in this study. Any solid material can be substituted to more closely simulate the performance of two specimens under actual application conditions.

RESULTS AND DISCUSSION

Wear rate is a vital factor for determining the service lifetime of the materials, while the friction plays a critical role during the tribological applications. Figure 2 compares the evolution of the COF for different polymers against the Al2O3 ball during the wear tests. COF works as an indicator of when failures occur and the wear process enters a new stage. Among the tested polymers, HDPE maintains the lowest constant COF of ~0.15 throughout the wear test. The smooth COF implies that a stable tribo-contact is formed.

Figure 3 and Figure 4 compare the wear tracks of the polymer samples after the test is measured by the optical microscope. The In-situ non-contact 3D profilometer precisely determines the wear volume of the polymer samples, making it possible to accurately calculate wear rates of 0.0029, 0.0020, and 0.0032m3/N m, respectively. In comparison, the CPVC sample shows the highest wear rate of 0.1121m3/N m. Deep parallel wear scars are present in the wear track of CPVC.

CONCLUSION

The wear resistance of the polymers plays a vital role in their service performance. In this study, we showcased that the Nanovea Tribometer evaluates the coefficient of friction and wear rate of different polymers in a
well-controlled and quantitative manner. HDPE shows the lowest COF of ~0.15 among the tested polymers. HDPE, Nylon 66, and Polypropylene samples possess low wear rates of 0.0029, 0.0020 and 0.0032 m3/N m, respectively. The combination of low friction and great wear resistance makes HDPE a good candidate for polymer tribological applications.

The In-situ non-contact 3D profilometer enables precise wear volume measurement and offers a tool to analyze the detailed morphology of the wear tracks, providing more insight into the fundamental understanding of wear mechanisms

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