Tribology Of Aluminium Alloys Against Steel Under Boundary Lubricated Condition
Aluminium silicon alloy has been found to be advantageous in many automobile components like pistons, cylinders, brakes and clutches. The main objective in using these alloys is to obtain lightweight and low friction at a reasonable cost without sacrificing reliability and durability. Out of all the tribological components piston skirts, piston rings and cylinder liners, have to face the most hostile of environments in an internal combustion engine. Wear mechanism of these components have been identified as abrasion, scuffing and corrosion. Narrowing down the line of interest, cylinder wear is more important than ring wear to both the engine manufacturer and the user, as cylinders are more expensive to replace than piston rings. Wear of piston ring and cylinder combination have been studied using a wide range of techniques. It is difficult to predict the tribological performance of these parts in an engine, even with the most well designed laboratory tests, due to chemical, thermal and mechanical complexities in the operating environment. Therefore, a good correlation is sought from the wear behaviour of test bed engines and laboratory tests. This should form the basis of further development particularly in terms of efficiency, weight eduction and wear life improvement of the components. Many ASTM bench-wear tests are used to study wear, some of the common tests being ball-on-disc and pin-on-disc testing. From these tests, a large database of wear information can be achieved and they offer rapid and low cost means of comparison. The only drawback is that the real components are not tested. However, since the bench tests can never simulate the engine environment completely, engine tests are always required for final verification. This thesis work reports preliminary studies of machining damage and wear in actual engine bore to set a bench mark, followed by a set of unidirectional sliding bench tests to study the wear of aluminium alloy under lubricated conditions, to classify the different wear regimes in boundary lubrication zone under different pressure conditions, and to study the effect of a surface modification technique, etching, which improves wear properties. The investigation is divided into four parts. 1. Study of subsurface damage in an actual cylinder surface as introduced by prior machining and actual worn case: A study of the microstructure of bores, processed through a range of machining variables; feed and speed, are investigated in this part of the thesis. This work suggests that the first step of rough machining may be responsible for the microstructure of the finished bore even though subsequent processing steps are intended to remove all prior damages. This also includes some observations of worn surface of an actually run engine, locating the various worn spots and studying the cause of this damage 2. Bench wear test in pin-on-disc under dry and lubricated condition with varying load and lubricant: After setting a benchmark on wear in engine using actual worn cylinder bore, a set of bench tests were carried out on aluminium alloy. Here, steel pins are slid on aluminium silicon alloy discs in the boundary lubrication regime in the presence of one drop of oil. The effect of pure hexadecane and engine oil containing additives on friction and wear are analysed and the data are discussed in terms of the formation of a mechanically mixed layer at the interface. 3. Ultra-mild Wear in Lubricated Tribology of an Aluminium Alloy: To study the different wear regimes in boundary lubrication zone, flat faces of cylindrical steel pins were slid on an eutectic aluminium silicon alloy under lubricated condition in the 1-100 MPa mean contact pressure range and 0.2 m/s sliding speed. Two transitions in wear rate were observed, at 10 MPa and 70 MPa. The wear rate in the 1-10 MPa regime was found to be very small and within the measuring instrument resolution and also insensitive to contact pressure. The regime is designated ultra-mild wear. Lack of plastic flow, minimal fragmentation of silicon particles and the presence of undistorted voids on the fractured and unfractured silicon particles in the subsurface suggest that the state of stress in the near surface region is elastic. Contact mechanical calculations demonstrate that at contact pressures less that 13.7 MPa the system is likely to shakedown to an elastic state. 4.Ball-on-disc wear tests for etched and unetched samples: In the fourth part of the thesis, comparative studies have been done between the as polished and chemically treated samples. Formation of grooves in a ball-on-disc experiment is observed on etched and unetched flats as a function of normal load and sliding distance. The groove is initially formed by plastic flow, and then expanded by micro-abrasion as the ball continues to slide on the groove. However etching causes surface hardening of the alloy, but, more importantly, creates a surface topology that reduces the peak contact pressure, which inhibits further plastic flow in the subsurface.
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