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Self Lubricating Polymer Matrix Composites

Project Funding:
Project Coordination:
AAC, Austria
Project Partners:
32 months

The ESA-project “SLPMC” covers the development of a self-lubricating polymer composite based on PTFE for use in bearings. The two targets of this project were to investigate lubrication mechanisms in PTFE-based composites under tribological conditions relevant to space applications (air, nitrogen, vacuum). Secondly, to develop a new polymer composite to fulfil future needs by space applications. Hence, in the frame of this project several new composites based on PTFE-matrix with different kind of fillers were defined, manufactured and tested on material level for mechanical thermal and tribological performance. From the most promising variants bushes for journal bearings and cages for ball bearings were machined. Bearing tests were done in air and vacuum up to 10 million revolutions.

It was found that new compositions showed in ball bearing tests, torques being less than commercially available materials. A paper will be published to the ESMATS conference (European Symposium for Mechanisms and Tribology in Space 2015).