Wear and degradation mechanisms in selected vehicle tribosystems

“Wear and degradation mechanisms in selected vehicle tribosystems”, Tribology in Industry, Vol. 37, No. 1 (2015), 72-80.
G. Pantazopoulos, A. Tsolakis, P. Psyllaki, A. Vazdirvanidis
The wear and degradation mechanisms of two principle vehicle tribosystems are presented to elucidate the main causes of their premature failure. The first case study concerns the malfunction of an automotive cast iron pressure plate operated in an automobile clutch system. The second is related to the unexpected failure of a stainless steel brake disk of a high performance motorcycle. Both components are designed to function under sliding friction conditions that lead to the severe wear of consumable non-metallic parts of the tribosystems: the clutch disk and the brake pad, respectively. However, in both cases it was the unexpected failure of the conjugate metallic parts that resulted in terminal system damage. The experimental approach to identify the root cause of failure involved both microstructure characterization, as well as observations of the metallic contact surfaces by means of optical and scanning electron microscopy, in conjunction with microhardness and surface topography measurements. For the case of the stainless steel brake disk in particular, Finite Element Analysis was employed to simulate the operating tribosystem, identify the site(s) prone for crack initiation and validate the failure mechanisms hypotheses.
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