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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).