Modelling of wear and tribofilm growth
Wear is a consequence of nature which becomes costly if uncontrolled. Basic wear protection is provided by lubrication which will decrease the severity of the contact between asperities. If the conditions of a contact are such that there can be no hydrodynamic lift off by the oil and most of the contact occurs in between such asperities, the protection is provided by chemically reacted layers, sometimes as thin as just a few nanometers.
In such cases where wear is governed by the most basic wear mechanisms, analytical models and numerical simulation tools have been developed and used to predict the extent of wear. Few of these models concider the interplay between contact mechanics and wear mechanisms. Wear modelling must keep improving.
The goal for this work is to examine the predictive efficiency of current models and initiate construction of reliable models for the chemical growth of wear reducing layers. To achieve this, numerical simulations of contact mechanics are used in Paper A to calculate the wear of contact surfaces and in Paper B as a basis for conditions of chemical growth.
The contact mechanics model is based on a solution to Boussinesq’s problem applied to equations for the potential energy by Kalker. The method takes the contact’s surface topographies and substrate material properties as input and outputs elastic and plastic deformation, contact pressure and contact area. The numerical implementation is efficiently evaluated by means of FFT-accelerated techinques. The wear is usually treated as a linear function of contact pressure and in this case the Archard wear equation constitute a feasible approximation. This equation is implemented in the present contact mechanics model to approximately predict the extent of wear, in boundary lubricated contacts, by means of numerical simulations.
The chemistry of lubricant additives is discussed. Using chemical theory for adsorption as by Arrhenius, the molecular perspective of antiwear additives is explored. Mechanical properties of tribochemical antiwear layers are taken into account in the developed method. The results in Paper A from wear simulations and comparison with an experiment shows the usefulness of wear equations of geometrical contact mechanics.
The chemical model in Paper B for tribofilm growth is applied to rough surfaces allowing comparison of the synergy between contact mechanics and chemistry for
different surface contacts. The results show how tribofilms grow on rough or smooth surfaces. The model can be used to compare chemical acitivity for different surface designs.