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Ultra High Vacuum Tribometer

In first stage of tribological development pin-on-disc tribometers offer the most simple and cost effective test to derive friction, wear and life-time of materials and coatings for use in space and planetary exploration. This facility enables the investigation of materials and coatings with respect to friction and wear properties. It enables on-line measurement of friction force during unidirectional sliding according to standardised pin-on-disc or ball-on-disc geometries. Environments vary from vacuum, gases under controllable pressures (e.g. to simulate Martian environment: 6mbar CO2) or to air with controlled humidity. Also linear wear is determined on-line. Mass spectrometer can be attached to analyse residual gas (e.g. desorption of contaminants from degradation of oils or greases). Post-Analysis may cover measurement of wear by profilometry, SEM or microbalance, investigation of surface structure or material transfer by SEM/EDX. Reproducibility and repeatability of test results proven by European Round Robin Test.

vacuum tribometer_3a Image of the Ultra High Vacuum Tribometer: Internal view with ball holder and disc, high temperature inserts, with mass spectrometer.