The tribological performance of DLC coatings under oil-lubricated fretting conditions

M. Kalin, J. Vižintin

Tribology international 39 (2006) 1060–1067.


Whether or not the process of fretting occurs is to a large extent dependent on the coefficient of friction, because the coefficient of friction directly affects the amount of shear stress. As a result, the key factor when it comes to reducing the amount of fretting damage is to reduce the coefficient of friction. Various surface coatings, and especially hard, diamond-like carbon (DLC) coatings, are known to be able to produce surfaces with a low level of friction. Despite some such attempts in the past, which did not result in major improvements, the developments and improvements in DLC coatings in recent years suggest the need for a re-evaluation of these coatings for fretting applications. Another way to reduce the amount of friction in mechanical components is to apply lubricants, and recent studies on the lubrication of DLC coatings suggest that this combination could be very successful in preventing failures under boundary-lubrication conditions. Therefore, in this work we present the results of friction and wear measurements from three types of fretting contacts: steel/steel, steel/DLC andDLC/DLC. Boundary oil-lubrication conditions were investigated and a wide range of displacement amplitudes, i.e., from 25 to 500 m, were selected to assess the fretting and sliding behaviours. The results show a significant difference between the fretting and sliding regimes. In the fretting regime, the DLC-containing contacts, and especially the self-mated DLC/DLC contacts, performed much better than the steel/steel contacts, and significantly reducedboth the wear (a 3-10 times reduction with steel/DLC and DLC/DLC) and the friction (a more-than-two-times reduction with DLC/DLC). In the sliding regime, the lubrication effects governed the tribological performance, making the results for all three material combinations very similar.


Keywords: tribologija, DLC prevleke, torna obraba, mazanje, trenje, obraba, stiki površin, drsenje materialov, stiki jeklo-jeklo, stiki DLC-DLC, DLC coatings, fretting, sliding, iol lubrication, wear

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