Low friction coatings are not as effective as dry film lubricants. It’s true. They can also be used to protect metal wear. They are especially useful when contact with the surface is intense and localized. This is when it is important to use lubrication and not just hardness.
Is your surface condition within the range of these types wear and contributing factors?
AdhesionVisible by fretting, pits and holes, or scales transfer. This is the result of soft materials slipping from a wider hardness gap between two moving surfaces. You should also look out for changes in surface finish, dimension, or geometric distortion.
Wear AbrasionYou may notice scratches, grooves or corrugations. These are caused by loose abrasive particles that have been removed from the wear surface. You should also look out for any negative effects on performance, surface finish, or dimensional or geometric distortion.
Use Surface ScarringThis is usually a sign of fatigue and shock, as well as small tears or holes.
Wear ‘TriboOxidation’This involves the removal of oxidation products from the wear surface, often in particulate form. Surfaces can be harder than their parent metals and become more rough. This leads to wear that is abrasive, or adhesive.
Dry film lubricants might be right for you.
What is dry film lubricants? These lubricants are solids that are used in relative motion between two surfaces to reduce wear and lower friction.
Solid films are also known as solid films. They’re ideal for extreme environments such as extreme temperature or pressure. Organic-based compounds could degrade or ‘cold flow’, and they would never survive.
Some examples of commonly used compounds are graphite (WS2) and molybdenum sulfide(MoS2). They have similar material characteristics in that they exhibit high ductile shear when subjected to an applied tangential force.
Imagine a series vertically stacked plates (called base planes), supported by long, wobbly feet (weak Van Der Waals forces). The legs will ‘collapse’ under an applied lateral force. There is severe plastic flow. The plates move out of their place. But strong ionic bonds make it possible for the shear to be parallel to the basal planes. This is their preferred orientation.
Do you want to avoid wear? Reduce your metal-to–metal contact. To avoid abrasive wear, make sure that the lubricating system you use is relatively soft than the bearing material. Be aware of the temperature range of your environment as well as the heat stability of your lubricant.
There are many areas where machinery can be used. Cutting tools, dies and forming tools are all excellent options. Gears are also used where contact stress is high, and plastic deformation (of parent metal) possible.
There are many ways to apply industrial lubricants. You can use them in a variety of ways, including spray, brush, dip and burnish as well as sputtering or heat fusion alloys. They are generally applied in thin films (less that 0.0001 inch). You can also use binders like epoxy, phenolic or ceramic to create resin-bonded systems with thicknesses of 0.0002 inches or more. Plasma sprays (.003 inches and greater) are another form of application, where lubricating substances are interspersed with a wear-resistant matrix. Self-lubricating powder metalurgist composites are a good choice for internal surfaces beyond the line of sight.
Which surface should be covered? You can choose to coat one or both sides. If the bearing system is hard or soft, the coating of one side will prolong the system’s life. The effectiveness of dry film lubricants is dependent on the substrate.
The friction of coating two surfaces will generally be higher than one. However, coating both surfaces will have a longer wear life. While there may not be any differences in your application, it is possible to decide whether better wear life or greater performance is more important.
There are many high-performance products that can be used in adverse conditions. Some can withstand temperatures up to 1100 degrees Celsius. Others can be used with liquid oxygen and are capable of performing in hard vacuum. They also resist high frequency fretting wear and can withstand loads up to 250,000 PSI.
What are the characteristics of a wear-resistant coating that is durable? Dry film lubricants are worth a closer look.
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William Gunnar is a scientist, engineer, researcher, and friend who has helped thousands of product designers and equipment makers for almost 20 years. He is a surface engineer with coatings that have proven to be incredibly successful.