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P Samyn, G Schoukens, J Quintelier, P De Baets

Friction, wear and material transfer of sintered polyimides sliding against various steel and diamond-like carbon coated surfaces

Tribology International 39 (2006) 575-589

Polyimide cylinders are slid under 50 N normal load and 0.3 m/s sliding velocity against carbon steel (R, = 0.2 and 0.05 mu m), high-alloy steel (R-a = 0-05 mu m), diamond-like carbon (DLC, R-a = 0.05 mu m) and diarnond-like nanocomposite (DLN, R-a = 0.05 mu m). Only for a limited range of test parameters, the friction of polyimide/DLN is lower than for polyimide/steel, while polyimide shows higher wear rates after sliding against DLN compared to steel counterfaces. The DLN coating shows slight wear scratches, although less severe than on DLC-coatings that are worn through thermal degradation. Therefore, also friction against DLC-coatings is high and unstable. Calculated bulk temperatures for steel and DLN under mild sliding conditions remain below the polyimide transition temperature of 180 degrees C so that other surface characteristics explain low friction on DLN counterfaces, as surface energy, structural compatibility and transfer behaviour. Friction is initially determined through adhesion and it is demonstrated that higher surface energy provides higher friction. After certain sliding time, different polyimide transfer on each counterface governs the tribological performance. Polyimide and amorphous DLC structures are characterised by C-C bonds, showing high structural compatibility and easy adherence of wear debris on the coating. However, it consists of plate-like transfer particles that act as abrasives and deteriorate the polyimide wear resistance. In sliding experiments with high-alloy steel, wear debris is washed out of the contact zone without formation of a transfer film. Transfer consists of island-like particles for smooth carbon steel and it forms a more homogeneous transfer film on rough carbon steel. The latter thick and protective film is favourable for low wear rates; however, it causes hi-her friction than smooth counterfaces. (c) 2005 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

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