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rolling contact fatigue caused by bearing friction if we don't reduce friction


What is Friction?

The Basics of Friction

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The Basics of Friction

Friction in metal components is a common and unavoidable phenomenon that affects the efficiency, performance, and lifespan of mechanical systems. When metal surfaces interact, the resulting frictional forces can lead to increased energy consumption, wear, vibration, and heat generation, ultimately reducing the overall efficiency and reliability of the system. Furthermore, excessive metal friction can result in component failure, necessitating costly repairs and downtime.
Friction, in a broad sense, can be defined as the resisting force tangential to the shared boundary between two material bodies when, under the act of an external force, one body tends to move relative to the surface of the second body. Friction has many synonymous terms used to describe its occurrence, although some are more appropriate to describe forms of abrasion. These include resistance, drag, rubbing, grating, scraping, grinding, abrading, and chafing.

Several factors influence the friction between metal surfaces. Six key variables include:

  • Surface Roughness: The roughness or smoothness of the contacting surfaces can significantly impact the frictional forces, as rougher surfaces typically exhibit higher friction.
  • Material Properties: The composition, hardness, and microstructure of the metals involved can affect their frictional behavior and the formation of surface films or layers that influence friction.
  • Load: The applied normal force or load on the contacting surfaces can influence the frictional forces, as higher loads generally lead to increased friction.
  • Relative Velocity: The relative velocity or sliding speed between the contacting surfaces can affect the frictional forces and the transition between different friction regimes.
  • Environment: The presence of lubricants, contaminants, humidity, or other environmental factors can influence the friction between metal surfaces by affecting the formation and stability of surface films or layers.
  • Temperature: The temperature of the contacting surface can impact the frictional forces, as higher temperatures may alter the material properties, surface films, or lubricant behavior.

While friction is an unavoidable phenomenon, there are a few tried-and-true mitigation methods used to dramatically lower the rate and severity of frictional forces, including:

  • Surface Finishing: Optimize the surface finish of metal components through polishing, grinding, or other finishing techniques to reduce surface roughness and decrease friction. Use protective metallic coatings known for high wear resistance and can be run against itself to further lower the coefficient of friction. Thin dense chrome is a protective metallic coating that excels in friction reduction, especially when paired with the proper lubricant.
  • Lubrication Retention: Apply appropriate lubricants to reduce friction and wear between contacting surfaces, providing a protective film that separates the surfaces and minimizes direct metal-to-metal contact.
  • Proper Design: Design mechanical systems to minimize areas of high friction or stress concentrations and consider the use of low-friction coatings or surface treatments where appropriate.
  • Material Selection: Choose materials with suitable properties, such as low friction coefficients, good wear resistance, and high load-carrying capacity.
  • Temperature Control: Control the operating temperature of mechanical systems to maintain optimal material properties and lubricant performance, reducing friction-related energy losses and high rates of wear.
  • Regular Maintenance and Monitoring: Inspect and maintain mechanical systems regularly to identify and address signs of excessive friction or wear, ensuring optimal performance and extending component life passed expectations.

Armoloy's Solution to Friction

Armoloy offers multiple metal surface treatments with varying levels of protection from the common causes of friction. Offering both broad-spectrum and industry-specific applications, our protective metallic coatings add significant value through increased performance and decreased revenue losses from unplanned maintenance and downtime.

Our protective coatings ensure a thin, precise coat that won’t impact production, but will improve surface hardness and prevent environmental defects. Beyond increasing wear life, Armoloy tailors our metallic coatings based on the specific requirements of your application and industry.

Grasping the unavoidable reality of metal friction and its influential factors is crucial for optimizing the performance and durability of mechanical systems in motion. By considering the key variables and implementing effective mitigation steps, engineers can successfully minimize the negative impact of metal friction on various applications, ensuring reliable and efficient operation.

Beyond the Lab: Metal Failures in Narrative Form

Other Metal Failure Modes

Other common metal failures include:

Friction can also result from, or be a precursor to, other potential metal failures

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