Friction and wear in industrial processes wastes energy and damages materials, increasing costs and reducing productivity. Low-friction, low-wear coatings can be applied to machinery and components to reduce friction and wear. A number of industries, including transport, energy, manufacturing and mineral extraction, are using these ‘engineered surfaces’ to improve process efficiency, but wider use is limited by a lack of techniques for the accurate measurement of very-low levels of friction and wear.
This project developed methods to accurately measure low-level friction and wear on engineered surfaces, including:
- Techniques to measure nanoscale wear, accurate to one billionth of a metre.
- Stable methods to make long-term measurements of friction on low-friction coatings.
- Methods to measure temperature and chemical changes at the points where industrial surfaces meet and interact.
The new measurement techniques have been described in five Good Practice Guides, to ensure they can be used effectively by industrial users, and have contributed to new CEN, ISO and ASTM industrial standards. A number of the techniques have been adopted by instrument manufacturers to develop new commercial measurement devices, including a modified ruby sensor that makes simultaneous measurements of surface friction and temperature. The techniques are also being used by the International Energy Agency in its Advanced Materials for Transportation programme, to explore the use of engineered surfaces in vehicle engines to increase efficiency and reduce emissions. Over the longer term, the new measurement methods developed will be used to make advances in surface engineering, leading to further reductions in friction and wear, more efficient manufacturing and higher-performance industrial products.
- EMRP Industry theme impact case studies