V-Research GmbH
  • Neue Sicherheit.

    Neue Sicherheit.

Tribological damage analytics

Tribological damage analytics is an expert business. Experience, expertise and good networks form the basis for successfully causality research in cases of damage. Causes of damage can be defined very precisely with professional support and laboratory proficiency. For the client, this means above all one thing – a gain in experience and certainty.

All tribological tasks are always based on a fundamental understanding of the tribological system itself. In this regard, V-Research not only provides its experience in extensive research projects, but also assists companies in compact investigations within the optimisation process. Time-critical tasks are handled immediately at V-Research. Key service areas: 

  • System analyses to identify damage or in order to built up expertise for further internal tasks at the company
  • Development of concepts for tribological systems
  • Development of experimental tribological test setups (experimental modelling)
  • Project supervision during implementation of new concepts into series production at the company
  • Analysis of surfaces, surface properties, topography, surface energy, wetting behaviour
  • Characterisation of materials/lubricants with regard to their tribological properties

The knowledge of a wide range of damage patterns and the wear mechanisms associated with them are indispensable prerequisites for successful damage analytics. A targeted search for solutions can only be conducted once these mechanisms are narrowed down. V-Research's extensive network supports and facilitates the rapid development of proposed solutions that can be implemented at short notice – for example in the form of coatings, alternative lubricants, etc.

System analyses for identification of damage

Figure 1 shows the wear pattern of a tongue and groove coupling that is used to balance out tolerances for the transmission of torque, for example in engine construction. After years of use, the part suddenly failed – V-Research was able to develop countermeasures within a very short time in order to eliminate vibration wear until more comprehensive redesigns were ready for series production. System analysis including demonstrating paths towards a solution – this type of customer orientation earns V-Research a special position in the tribology world.

Development of experimental tribological test setups (experimental modelling)

Materials react differently to environmental influences. Plastics, for example, react very sensitively to the load spectrum or ambient conditions. It is a major challenge to identify an optimum sliding pair with regard to materials based on material data from plastics manufacturers. Customers play it safe – where possible – and seek partners that define the risk of damage in advance. Correctly abstracted screening experiments – as offered by V-Research – can provide crucial information thanks to corresponding expertise. Figure 4 shows pin-on-disc test pieces after the experiment is carried out. Here, the question of the influence of water on the slip and wear behaviour was important because the manufacturers had neither corresponding data nor experience. Furthermore, with the help of these screening experiments, it was possible to characterise the corresponding material pair in greater detail and to precisely optimise it for the application. 

Image A: Principle of pin-on-disc experimental set-up
Image B: Pin test piece after experiment

Image A: Disc test piece after experiment
Image B: Wear mark in detail (exposed glass fibres)

Characterisation of the wear mark using confocal microscopy

Analysis of surfaces, surface properties

Figure 2 shows the surface of a chain pin. Chain parts are manufactured in the millions of units – if a chain link is defective, the entire chain loses its function, and massive secondary damage can occur, e.g. in the case of engine timing chains. The pin's surface properties influence wettability and hence the capacity for lubrication, so they are crucial for ensuring that sliding is possible at the contact between the chain pin and socket.

Figure 3 shows the corresponding surfaces as a scanning electron microscope (SEM) image and as a 3D image taken using confocal microscopy.