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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.