Friction measurements on complex shapes


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One challenge in tribology is to measure friction and wear on complex shapes, such as gears, with precision. Most of the existing setup try to simulate this complicated contact with a simplified ball-on-flat configuration. However, the more you simplify, the more you deviate from the actual application. In this application study we present an approach to evaluate the sliding contacts on complex gears.


A Basalt-S2 was modified to perform reciprocating sliding tests on bare and coated gears. Holders for the gears were designed and 3D printed, a standardized steel cylinder was used as the countermaterial to create a line contact. The load and contact pressures were calculated by Hertzwin software to be in accordance with the in-field conditions. To ensure the same contacting surface between gears and countermaterial, a self-aligning holder was manufactured to hold the cylinder in contact with one of the spirals of the gear. The evolution of the coefficient of friction was continuously monitored, whereas the wear damage on both the spirals of the gear was measured by confocal microscopy.



  • The Basalt-S2 was modified to measure the tribological behavior of gears.
  • Differences in the friction between bare and coated gears can be recorded.
  • Coatings can improve the wear resistance of gears.


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