Mechanisms of Formation and Effects of Transition Metal Oxides in Silicon Nitride on Steel Dry Sliding Contacts

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Silicon nitride on steel sliding contacts may provide advantageous tribological properties over traditional self-mated pairs, however the friction and wear behavior at high sliding speeds (>1 m/s) is not well understood. Previous studies at low sliding speeds (< 1 m/s) have found that the wear mechanisms change as a function of the operating parameters, e.g. atmosphere, sliding speed, load, and temperature, due to the formation of transition metal oxides such as Fe2O3 and Fe3O4. This study detected transient effects of the dry silicon nitride on steel contact over a range of sliding speeds to understand their relation to tribochemical reactions ... continued below

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Harris, Michael D. December 2018.

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  • Harris, Michael D

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Silicon nitride on steel sliding contacts may provide advantageous tribological properties over traditional self-mated pairs, however the friction and wear behavior at high sliding speeds (>1 m/s) is not well understood. Previous studies at low sliding speeds (< 1 m/s) have found that the wear mechanisms change as a function of the operating parameters, e.g. atmosphere, sliding speed, load, and temperature, due to the formation of transition metal oxides such as Fe2O3 and Fe3O4. This study detected transient effects of the dry silicon nitride on steel contact over a range of sliding speeds to understand their relation to tribochemical reactions and the resulting tribological behavior. Two sets of dry silicon nitride on steel experiments were conducted at 1.45 GPa maximum Hertzian pressure. The first set were low sliding speed reciprocating experiments, conducted at an average of 0.06 m/s, conducted at variable operating temperature, ranging from 23 °C to 1000 °C. In the low sliding speed experiments, transitions of the wear mechanism from adhesive wear, to abrasive wear, then to oxidative wear was observed when the operating temperature increased. The second set were high sliding speed experiments, conducted at variable sliding speeds, ranging from 1 m/s to 16 m/s. In the high sliding speed experiments, a transition from adhesive wear to oxidative wear was observed when the sliding speed surpassed 4.5 m/s. The high sliding speed experiments were accompanied by in-situ instrumentation which detected the presence of a tribofilm which correlated to a reduction in friction, and its formation was linked to tribochemical reactions induced by high flash temperatures. Both sets of experiments had a maximum estimated contact temperature of 1000 °C where oxidative wear was prevalent. Although, the low sliding speed experiments underwent severe bulk oxidation and thermal softening effects, while the high sliding speed experiments experienced localized flash heating events with temperatures sufficient to form a semi-coherent tribofilm that was lubricious and significantly improved wear resistance. Therefore, the effects of transition metal oxides in sliding contacts are determined to be significantly influenced on their mechanisms of formation and interrelated to the operating parameters as found for dry sliding silicon nitride on steel contacts.

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  • December 2018

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  • Jan. 19, 2019, 9:34 p.m.

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  • March 14, 2019, 5:38 p.m.

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Harris, Michael D. Mechanisms of Formation and Effects of Transition Metal Oxides in Silicon Nitride on Steel Dry Sliding Contacts, thesis, December 2018; Denton, Texas. (https://digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc1404592/: accessed March 20, 2019), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, https://digital.library.unt.edu; .