Transport

Whether you travel by road, rail, air or sea you can be sure that tribology has played a part in getting you to your destination safely and efficiently.

Whichever way you choose to move around, whether it is by plane, train, car, bike, boat or even walking, tribology will be playing a part. Tribology is the study of interacting surfaces in relative motion, which means even the relationship between the sole of a shoe and a path is tribology. For vehicles, such as cars and busses, the tribological systems are even more obvious, from the tyre contact with the road, to the the brake pads and brake discs, through to bearings, gears and other engine components, tribological research has been conducted on a host of areas. For trains, the tribological contacts are equally obvious. They also have engines, brakes and wheels, but here we are looking at a different scale of load and materials, requiring yet more in-depth research and evaluation. The same is true for boats, planes and bikes.

PCS’ range of instruments have been used by researchers at companies and universities around the world to study a this vast range of the tribological systems found in transport applications. With PCS’ equipment, researchers are able to complete realistic and representative testing of lubricants, coatings and materials at a host of different conditions, with test parameters and profiles tailored to match what is seen in the field. It is not just one piece of equipment that is used to develop understanding of a tribological system either, often a host of PCS’ instruments are used together to give a better picture of how lubricants, coatings or materials will stand up in the field.

Transport research areas include:

  • Boat powertrains
  • Train rail interfaces
  • Electric car powertrain systems
  • Extreme pressure additives for engines
  • Lubricants that can operate in vacuums for space flight

Transport Industry includes the following:

Automotive

Automotive

Many aspects of automotives are tribologically interesting. Extensive research into a host of components such as gearboxes, engines, bearings and brakes is ongoing around the world.

Aviation

Aviation

In aviation safety and reliability is key. Tribological investigation is key to making sure parts in planes and helicopters are appropriately protected by lubricants.

Heavy Duty Vehicles

Heavy Duty Vehicles

Like with cars, tribology research into heavy duty vehicles is ongoing and for this area higher loads are often focused on, for more representative test conditions.

Marine

Marine

Boats and ships operate in wet, often salty, conditions. Tribologists are working hard developing even more environmentally friendly and better performing lubricants for these unique conditions.

Space

Space

Even in space, tribology is still an important consideration. Every moving part on a satellite or space station will have been looked at to make sure they are reliable and appropriately lubricated.

Trains

Trains

Not only are the engines and gearboxes of trains subjects of tribological study, but also the contact between the rails and wheels. Even here tribological research is ongoing to optimise every aspect of train travel.

Instruments for the Transport Industry

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Transport Industry Articles & Papers

Paper

Rheological and Wetting Properties of Environmentally Acceptable Lubricants (EALs) for Application in Stern Tube Seals

The use of Environmentally Acceptable Lubricants (EALs) for stern tube lubrication is increasing. Although the machine components of a sailing …

The use of Environmentally Acceptable Lubricants (EALs) for stern tube lubrication is increasing. Although the machine components of a sailing vessel are designed to operate together with mineral oil-based lubricants, these are being replaced by the less environmentally harmful EALs. Little is known about the rheological performance of EALs in particular at the high shear rates that occur in stern tube seals. In this study, the viscosity and wetting properties of a set of different EALs is analysed and compared to traditional mineral oil-based lubricants using a set of experimental techniques. Some of the EALs present Newtonian behavior whereas other show shear thinning. No significant difference in surface tension was observed between the different lubricants.

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Paper

In-situ Observations of the Effect of the ZDDP Tribofilm Growth on Micropitting

The ongoing trend for using ever lower viscosities of lubricating oils, with the aim of improving the efficiency of mechanical …

The ongoing trend for using ever lower viscosities of lubricating oils, with the aim of improving the efficiency of mechanical systems, means that machine components are required to operate for longer periods under thin film, mixed lubrication conditions where the risk of surface damage is increased. For this reason, the role of zinc dialkyldithiophosphate (ZDDP) antiwear lubricant additive has become increasingly important in order to provide adequate surface protection. It is known that due to its exceptional effectiveness in reducing surface wear, ZDDP may promote micropitting by preventing adequate running-in of the contacting surfaces. However, the relationship between ZDDP tribofilm growth rate and the evolution of micropitting has not been directly demonstrated. To address this, we report the development of a novel technique using MTM-SLIM to obtain micropitting and observe ZDDP tribofilm growth in parallel throughout a test. This is then applied to investigate the effect of ZDDP concentration and type on micropitting. It is found that oils with higher ZDDP concentrations produce more micropitting but less surface wear and that, at a given concentration, a mixed primary-secondary ZDDP results in more severe micropitting than a primary ZDDP. Too rapid formation of a thick antiwear tribofilm early in the test serves to prevent adequate running-in of sliding parts, which subsequently leads to higher asperity stresses and more asperity stress cycles and consequently more micropitting. Therefore, any adverse effects of ZDDP on micropitting and surface fatigue in general are mechanical in nature and can be accounted for through ZDDP's influence on running-in and resulting asperity stress history. The observed correlation between antiwear film formation rate and micropitting should help in the design of oil formulations that extend component lifetime by controlling both wear and micropitting damage.

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