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Analysis of Abrasive Wear

Behavior of Carbon Fabric


Reinforced Epoxy Composite
using Taguchi Method
Sudarshan Rao K a *, Y S Varadarajan b and N Rajendra c
a.

Research scholar, NIE, Mysore, Associate Professor,

Department of Mechanical Engineering, Vivekananda College


of Engineering & Technology, Puttur. Karnataka India.
Mobile:09448252890. Email: srk9060@yahoo.co.in
b. Professor & Head, Department of Industrial & Production
Engineering, NIE, Mysore.Karnataka India.
c. Professor , Department of Mechanical Engineering,
Vivekananda College of Engineering & Technology, Puttur.
Karnataka India.
ABSTRACT An experimental investigation was carried out
to study the effect of the filler weight fraction, normal load, and
sliding

distance

on

the

abrasive

wear

behavior

of

Carbon/Epoxy composite. In this study, comparative abrasive


wear performance of carbon fabric reinforced Epoxy composite
filled with varying weight fraction of graphite fillers has been
reported. Wear studies were carried out using rubber wheel
abrasion test (RWAT) rig with Silica sand particles of size 200
m used as dry and loose abrasives. Weight loss of the
composites during abrasion has been examined as a function of
sliding distance and normal load. Investigations showed that
Fax:08251-236444. Email: srk9060@yahoo.co.in
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abrasive wear of the composites depend on the applied load, as


well as on the weight fraction of fillers. A plan of experiments,
based on techniques of Taguchi, was performed to acquire data
in controlled way. An orthogonal array and the analysis of
variance were employed to investigate the influence of process
parameters on the wear of these composites. The objective is to
establish a correlation between abrasive wear of composites
and wear parameters. These correlations were obtained by
multiple regressions. The results showed that, the weight loss
increases with increasing applied load, sliding distance and
weight fraction of graphite filler. Finally, confirmation tests
were conducted to verify the experimental results foreseen from
the mentioned correlations.
Keywords Composite, Fabric, Abrasive wear, silica, epoxy,
orthogonal array.
1. INTRODUCTION
Polymer matrix composites are emerging as promising
materials in many structural and tribological applications.
Because of the high strength and stiffness to weight ratios, easy
processibality and chemical resistance, the composites are
finding a wide variety of structural applications in aerospace,
automotive,

and

chemical

Industries.

Polymer

Matrix

Composites are also used increasingly in applications where


friction and wear are important parameters like gears, seals,
bearings, breaks etc. Furthermore, PMCs generally have a low
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coefficient of friction even under dry sliding conditions due to


the self-lubricating characteristics & enhanced mechanical and
tribological properties provided by the unique combination of
fibers and the matrices. Polymeric composites have steadily
gained importance in recent years for Industrial applications.
The increasing the use of composites demand for better
understanding of their behavior under different working
environments. The epoxy resin is a thermo set polymer, used
as matrix material for producing composites in structural
applications. Epoxy resins possess favorable properties such as
strong adhesion to many materials, good mechanical and
electrical properties, relatively high chemical & thermal
resistance and low priced compared to advanced polymers;
however, it is relatively brittle due to its cross linked molecular
structure. Mechanical and tribological properties of the epoxy
based composites can be improved by incorporating the right
kind of reinforcements and fillers. Among the various types of
reinforcements like particulate, short, long, and bidirectional
woven fabric, bidirectional woven fabric reinforcement is the
most promising for fiber reinforced composites. Woven fabric
reinforced composites are getting acceptance in many
engineering applications because of their balanced properties in
the fabric plane as well as their ease of handling during
fabrication. They provide better resistance to impact than
unidirectional composites and display behavior that is closer to
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that of a fully isotropic material. Modification of woven fabric


reinforced composites by incorporation of fillers has been a
popular research activity in the plastics industry since the
properties of resultant materials may be significantly changed
by the introduction of fillers and fabrics. Carbon fiber is one of
the most useful reinforcement materials in composites, its
major use being the manufacture of components in the
aerospace, automotive, and leisure industries. The unique
features of carbon fiber are low density, high strength,
lightweight, high modulus and high stiffness leading to the
development of new industrial applications.
Abrasive wear can be defined as; the hard asperities on one
surface move across a softer surface under load, penetrate and
remove material from the softer surface, leaving grooves [1].
Abrasive wear can be classified as two-body or three-body.
Two-body abrasive wear occurs when a rough surface or fixed
abrasive particles slide across a surface to remove material;
three-body abrasive wear, where the particles are loose and
may move relative to one another, and possibly rotate, during
sliding across the wearing surface. Most of the abrasive wear
problems which arise in engineering and agricultural machine
components involve three-body wear, while two-body abrasion
occurs primarily in material removal operations. Three-body
abrasion is often of considerable practical importance but
appears to have received much less attention than a two-body
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problem. The data regarding three-body abrasive wear


investigations of polymer composites are limited. Very little
has been reported on the effect of filler or fiber reinforcement
on three-body abrasive wear performance of polymer
composites [2, 3]. Hence, a fundamental and comprehensive
understanding of the three-body abrasive wear behavior of
these composites is required.
Feng Hua Su et al. [4] studied the influence of nano Al2O3 and
Si3N4 particulate filler in Carbon fabric / phenolic resin
composites on tribological properties, and concluded that, filled
composites improved the friction and wear behavior of Carbon
fabric composites. Particulates increase the interfacial bonding
strength,

which

increases

mechanical

strength.

Nano

particulates improve wear resistance of Carbon fabric


composites at elevated temperature. Wear rate of filled Carbon
Fiber Composite is less than the unfilled. M Savitha et al. [5]
investigated the friction and wear behavior of glass- Vinyl ester
composite with and without SiC fillers. They concluded that
SiC filled composites have high wear resistance compared to
plain Glass Vinyl ester composites. Thomas Larsen et al. [6]
studied the friction and wear properties of glass /epoxy and
carbon aramid /epoxy composite and found that, coefficient of
friction decreased by replacing carbon aramid with glass fiber,
and wear rate of glass /epoxy composite is more than the
carbon aramid /epoxy composites. Suresha et al. [7]
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investigated the friction and wear behavior of glass-epoxy


composite with and without graphite filler. Neat glass-epoxy
composite and graphite filled glass-epoxy composite with three
different percentages of filler were fabricated through hand
layup technique. They concluded that the graphite filled glass
epoxy composite showed higher resistance to sliding wear as
compared to plain glass-epoxy composites. B.Shivamurthy et al.
[8] investigated the friction and wear behavior of glass epoxy
composite filled with SiO2 fillers. They observed that
composites filled with 6 and 9 weight % of SiO2 particulates
exhibited steady wear rate and high wear resistance. S R
Chauhan et al. [9] studied the tribological behavior of glass
fiber reinforced vinylester composites filled with fly ash
particulates using a pin on disc wear apparatus. Orthogonal
array and analysis of variance (ANOVA) were used to
investigate the influence of process parameters on the
tribological properties. The results revealed that the inclusion
of fly ash decreased the coefficient of friction and increased the
wear resistance of the composites significantly. Also they
concluded that the factorial design of experiment can be
successfully employed to describe the frictional and wear
behavior of composites and developed linear equations for
predicting wear rate with selected experimental conditions. S
Basavarajappa et al. [10] studied the tribological behavior of
glass epoxy polymer composites with SiC and Graphite
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particles using a pin on disc wear test rig under sliding


conditions. The results showed that the inclusion of SiC and
Graphite particles will increase the wear resistance of the
composite greatly. They also developed a mathematical model
using Design of experiments approach by Taguchi method.
Biswas

et. al. [11] conducted study on the erosive wear

behavior of red mud filled glass epoxy composites, and used


Taguchi method for analysis of the interaction of control
factors for the wear rate. They found that the filler content in
the composites, erodent temperature, the impingement angle
and velocity are found to have substantial influence in
determining the rate of material loss from the composite
surface due to erosion. Amar Patnaik et. al. [12], investigated
the three body abrasive wear properties of glass epoxy
composite, filled with SiC, Al2O3, and pine bark dust
particulates. They fond that, abrasive wear rate decreases with
increase in abrading distance for all the samples, the pine barkfilled composite showed better abrasive wear resistance, and
wear rate was higher in SiC-filled glass fiber-reinforced epoxy
composites.
Wealth of information is available in the literature on the
tribological behavior of various fiber reinforced polymer matrix
composites. The tribological properties are not the intrinsic
material properties of a particular tribological system, but, there
are many parameters that can influence them. A number of
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studies have been reported on the effect of normal load, sliding


distance, fiber fraction, orientation, etc., on the wear rate of
polymer composites. The knowledge of the relations between
material parameters and tribological performance is important
in the determination of strength and wear rate of the composite.
The design of experimental approach by Taguchi technique has
been successfully used by researchers in study of sliding wear
behavior of polymer composites. Taguchi parameter design can
optimize the performance characteristics through the setting of
design parameters and reduce the sensitivity of the system
performance to the source of variation [13]. This is carried out
by the efficient use of experimental runs to the combinations of
variables to be studied. This technique is a powerful tool for
acquiring the data in a controlled way and to analyze the
influence of process parameters over some specific parameters,
which is unknown function of these process variables. Taguchi
technique creates a standard orthogonal array to consider the
effect of several factors on the target value and defines the plan
of experiments. The experimental results are analyzed by using
analysis of means and variance of the influence of factors.
Considering these aspects, it was decided to study the three
body abrasive wear characteristics of graphite filled carbon
fiber epoxy composites. The present investigation focuses on
the wear characteristics of bi-directional woven carbon fiber
reinforced epoxy composites filled with graphite particles. An
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inexpensive and easy to operate experimental strategy based on


Taguchi experimental design technique is used in this study to
determine the relative significance of various control factors
influencing the wear rate.
2. EXPERIMENTAL
2.1 Materials
In this investigation, composites were fabricated using
bidirectional plain-woven carbon fabric (density 200 g/m2),
containing Polyacryl nitrile (PAN) based carbon fiber, supplied
by CS Interglass AG, BenzstraBe, as reinforcement. The matrix
system used is a medium viscosity epoxy resin (LAPOX -12),
and a room temperature curing polyamine hardener (K5), both
supplied by ATUL India Ltd, Gujarat, India.. The fillers that
have been used are graphite particulates supplied by Luba
Chemie, Bombay.
2.2 Fabrication
The matrix was prepared by mixing epoxy resin,
LAPOX -12 and hardener K5 in the ratio of 100:27 by weight
at 60C. The composite laminates of 300 mm x 300 mm x 3
mm were fabricated by compression molding method [14].
Calculated amount of graphite filler is mixed with the resin,
then it was coated on 16 layers of carbon fabric using brush and
roller and it was kept between the pressing plates of 350 mm x
350 mm size. A layer of polyester film was provided in
between the plate and composite surface for easy release and to
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obtain smooth and uniform surface on the composites. Resin


impregnated stock of 16 layers of fabrics were allowed to cure
for a day at room temperature, then was pressed in hydraulic
press under a pressure of 0.5 MPa and temperature 140C for
about 2 hours. Three types of samples were prepared based on
the weight fraction of graphite filler in the composite. The
details of the composites fabricated are shown in Table 1.
Table 1: Details 0f Composite Samples Prepared.
Sample

Matrix

Reinforcement

38 % Epoxy

60% Carbon Fabric

Filler
2%
Graphite
4%

36 % Epoxy

60% Carbon Fabric


Graphite
6%

34 % Epoxy

60% Carbon Fabric


Graphite

2.3 Experimental setup


The dry sand rubber wheel abrasion test setup as per
ASTM G65 is used to conduct the wear studies. The schematic
diagram of the set up is as shown in the figure 1. The abrasives
are introduced between the test specimen and the rotating
wheel with a chlorobutyl rubber tire. The test specimen is
pressed against the rotating wheel at a specified force by means
of lever arm while a controlled flow of grits abrade the test
surface. The rotation of wheel is such that its contact face
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moves in the direction of grit flow. The pivot axis of the lever
arm lies within a plane, which is approximately tangential to
the rubber wheel surface and normal to the horizontal diameter
along which the load is applied. The tests were carried out for
different loads and sliding distances.

Figure 1. Dry sand rubber wheel abrasion test setup


2.4 Test procedure
The test samples were prepared by cutting the
composite laminates into 25mm X 75mm X 3mm size pieces.
The samples were cleaned, dried and its initial weight was
determined in a high precision digital electronic balance
(0.0001 gm accuracy) before it was mounted in the sample
holder. The silica sand was used as abrasives in the present
experiments. The abrasive was fed at the contacting face
between the rotating rubber wheel and the test sample. The
tests were conducted at a rotational speed of 200 rpm with 200
m size Silica sand particle at the feeding rate of 250 gm/min.
The experiments were carried out at a normal load of 11 N,
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23N, and 35N, and the abrading distances chosen were 300m,
600m, and 900m. The wear was measured by the loss in weight.
2.5 Taguchi technique
A plan of experiments, based on the Taguchi technique, was
performed to acquire data in a controlled way. An orthogonal
array and analysis of variance (ANOVA) were applied to
investigate the influence of process parameters on the wear
behavior of composites. The Taguchi design of experiment
approach eliminates the need for repeated experiments and thus
saves time, material and cost. Taguchi approach identifies not
only the significant control factors but also their interactions
influencing the wear rate predominantly. The most important
stage in the design of experiment lies in the selection of the
control factors. In the present work, the impacts of three such
parameters are studied using L27 (313) orthogonal array. The
operating conditions under which sliding wear tests carried out
are given in Table 2.
Table 2: Levels of Variables used in the Experiments
Level
Control factors

Units
I

II

III

Filler Content (A)

Normal Load (B)

11

23

35

Sliding distance (C)

300

600

900

12

Three parameters are percentage of filler content, normal load


and sliding distance and each at three levels are considered in
this study. Three parameters each at three levels would require
Taguchis factorial experiment approach to 27 runs only
offering a great advantage. The experimental observations are
transformed into a signal-to-noise (S/N) ratio. There are several
S/N ratios available depending on the type of characteristics.
The S/N ratio for minimum wear rate coming under smaller is
better characteristic, which can be calculated as logarithmic
transformation of the loss function by the equation:
S/N = - 10 log 1/n ( yn2)

(1)

Where n is the repeated number trial conditions and y1,


y2.yn are the response of the wear rate characteristics.
The plan of the experiments is as follows: The first column was
assigned to filler content (A), the second column to normal
load (B), the fifth column to sliding distance (C), the third and
fourth column are assigned to (A x B)1 and (A x B)2,
respectively to estimate interaction filler content (A) and
normal load (B), the sixth and seventh column are assigned to
(A x C)1 and (Ax C)2, respectively, to estimate interaction
between the filler content (A) and sliding distance (C), the
eighth and eleventh column are assigned to (B x C)1 and (B x
C)2, respectively, to estimate interaction between the normal
load (B), and sliding distance (C). The remaining columns are
assigned to error columns, respectively.
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3. RESULTS AND DISCUSSIONS


3.1 Analysis of Experimental Results
The experimental data for wear rate of the composite is
reported in the Table 3. From Table 3 the overall mean for the
S/N ratio of the wear rate is found to be 9.53197 db. The
analyses of the experimental data are carried out using the
software MINITAB 16 specially used for design of experiment
applications. Before analyzing the experimental data using this
method for predicting the measure of performance, the possible
interactions between control factors are considered. Thus
factorial design incorporate a simple means of testing for the
presence of the interaction effects. The mean response refers to
the average values of the performance characteristics at
different levels.
Table 3: Results of Dry Abrasive Wear Tests as per Orthogonal
Array L27 (313)
Filler
Content
%ofGraphite

Normal
Load
N

Sliding
Distance
m

Wear

S/N

11

300

0.0788

22.06948

11

600

0.1646

15.6714

11

900

0.1909

14.38388

23

300

0.275

11.21335

23

600

0.3301

9.62709

23

900

0.4872

6.245854

35

300

0.4502

6.93189

35

600

0.6888

3.238137

35

900

0.7192

2.863006

S.No.

14

10

11

300

0.0829

21.62891

11

11

600

0.1428

16.90544

12

11

900

0.245

12.21668

13

23

300

0.2531

11.93416

14

23

600

0.4312

7.306425

15

23

900

0.5972

4.477604

16

35

300

0.4051

7.848755

17

35

600

0.6116

4.27065

18

35

900

0.8326

1.591272

19

11

300

0.0821

21.71314

20

11

600

0.1675

15.5197

21

11

900

0.2221

13.06903

22

23

300

0.3092

10.19521

23

23

600

0.6823

3.320493

24

23

900

0.6388

3.892702

25

35

300

0.5959

4.496532

26

35

600

0.6942

3.170308

27

35

900

0.8354

1.562111

In order to find out statistical significance of various factors


like filler content (A), normal load (B) and sliding distance
(C), and their interactions on wear rate, analysis of variance
(ANOVA) is performed on experimental data. Table 4 show the
results of the ANOVA with the wear rate. The last column of
the table indicates p-value for the individual control factors and
their possible interactions. It is known that smaller the p-value,
greater the significance of the factor/interaction corresponding
to it [13].

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Table 4. ANOVA table for S/N ratio

Source
A
B
C
A*B
A*C
B*C
Residual
Error
Total

2
2
2
4
4
4
8

DF

Seq SS
13.97
814.65
192.76
6.62
5.74
13.77
10.07

26

1057.5

Adj
SS
13.967
814.64
192.76
6.616
5.74
13.77
10.07

Adj
MS
6.983
407.32
96.38
1.654
1.435
3.442
1.259

F
5.55
323.57
76.56
1.31
1.14
2.73

P
0.031
0.000
0.000
0.343
0.404
0.105

The ANOVA table for S/N ratio (Table 4), indicate that, the
normal load (p=0.000), sliding distance (p= 0.000) and filler
content (p=0.031) in this order, are significant control factors
affecting the wear rate. While between the interactions, the
interaction of normal load and sliding distance (p=0.105) has
greater contribution on the wear rate compared to the
interaction of filler content and normal load (p=0.343), and the
interaction of filler content and sliding distance (p=0.404).
Table 5. Response Table
Level
1
2
3
Delta
Rank

A
10.249
9.798
8.549
1.701
3

B
17.02
7.579
3.997
13.023
1

C
13.115
8.781
6.7
6.414
2

The response table shows the average of each S/N ratios for
each level of each factor. The table includes ranks based on
Delta statistics, which compare the relative magnitude of
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effects. The Delta statistic is the highest minus the lowest


average for each factor. Minitab assigns ranks based on Delta
values; rank one to the highest Delta value, rank two to the
second highest, and so on. From the response table 5, it is clear
that, first rank to the normal load, followed by the sliding
distance and filler content.
From both ANOVA and response tables it is clear that, the
normal load is the most significant factor and the filler content
has less influence on the performance output.
Figure 2, show graphically the effect of the three control factors
on wear rate of the composite specimens. A main effect is seen
when different levels of a factor affect the response differently.
A main effects plot graphs the response mean for each factor
level connected by a line. When the line is horizontal, then
there is no main effect present. Each level of the factor affects
the response in the same way, and the response mean is the
same across all factor levels. When the line is not horizontal,
then there is a main effect present. Different levels of the factor
affect the response differently. The steeper the slope of the line,
the greater the magnitude of the main effect on the wear rate.
For each control factors, a level with maximum value of mean
of S/N ratio will give minimum wear rate. In this case, the
analysis of results leads to the conclusion that, factors
combination A1, B1 and C1 gives minimum wear rate. That is,

17

2% graphite filler, with 11 N load and 300m sliding distance


will lead to a minimum wear rate.
When the effect of one factor depends on the level of the other
factor, interaction plot can be used to visualize possible
interactions. Parallel lines in an interaction plot indicate no
interaction. The greater the difference in slope between the
lines, the higher the degree of interaction. The interaction graph
is shown in Figures 3. From the Figure it is observed that the
interaction A x B, i.e., percent filler and normal load shows
significant effect on the wear rate of the composite samples.
Main Effects Plot for SN ratios
Data Means
% Filler

Load

Mean of SN ratios

15
10
5
2

4
Distance

300

600

900

11

23

35

15
10
5

Signal-to-noise: Smaller is better

Figure 2. Effect of control factors on wear rate.

Interaction Plot for SN ratios


Data Means
11

23

35

% Filler
2
4
6

20

10

% Filler

0
20

10

L oad

0
20

10

Distance

Load
11
23
35

Distance
300
600
900

0
2

300

600

900

Signal-to-noise: Smaller is better

Figure 3. Interaction of control factors on wear rate.

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3.2 Confirmation test


The confirmation experiment is the final step in the design of
experiments

process.

The

confirmation

experiment

is

conducted to validate the inference drawn during the analysis


phase.

The

confirmation

experiment

is

performed

by

considering the new set of factor setting A1 , B1, C1 to predict the


wear rate.
The predicted value of the S/N ratio at the optimum level is
calculated as [15]:
= m +

m)

(2)

Where m is the total mean S/N ratio, is the mean S/N ratio
at the optimal level, and o is the number of main design
parameters that significantly affect the wear performance of the
composites. A new combination of factor levels A1 B1 and C1
are used to predict the S/N ratio of wear predictive equation
and is found to be 21.732. Table 6 shows the comparison of the
predicted S/N ratio with the actual (experimental) S/N ratio
using the optimal parameters and there seems to be quite a
good agreement between the two.
The resulting equation seems to be capable of predicting the
wear rate to the acceptable level of accuracy. An error of 1.5%
for the S/N ratio of the wear rate is observed. However if
number of observations of performance characteristics are
increased further these errors can be reduced. This validates the

19

statistical approach used for predicting the measures of


performance based on knowledge of the input parameters.
Table 6. Results of the confirmation experiments
Optimal control parameters
Prediction

Experimental

Level

A1,B1,C1

A1,B1,C1

S/N Ratio

21.732

22.0695

% Error

1.5%

3.3 Regression analysis


In order to establish the correlation between the wear
parameters like filler content, normal load and sliding distance
with the wear rate, linear regression model was used. The
generalized linear regression equation for the experiment can
be written as,
Y = a0 + a1 x A + a2 x B + a3 x C.

(3)

The factorial design of experiments and the values of the


response variables corresponding to each set of trials are
represented in the above equation for the specimen. Where Y is
the wear weight loss. The variables A, B and C are the filler
content, normal load and sliding distance respectively. The a1,
a2 and a3 are the coefficients of the independent variables A, B
and C respectively. After calculating each of the coefficients of
equation, the final linear regression equation for the wear rate
of the composites are calculated. These constants are calculated
by using linear regression analysis method using the software

20

MINITAB 16. These coefficients are substituted in the equation


(3) and following relation is obtained as shown in equation (4).
Wear = - 0.401 + 0.0234 A+ 0.0206 B + 0.000414 C

(4)

R2= 92.1%
The higher correlation coefficient (R2) confirms the suitability
of the used equations and correctness of the calculated
constants.
IV. CONCLUSION
In this study, the effect of graphite filler on tribologiical
properties of carbon reinforced epoxy resin composites has
been examined. According to obtained results, it can be
concluded that:
1. Design of experiments approach by Taguchi method
enabled us to analyze successfully the wear behavior of
the composites with filler material, load, and sliding
distance as test variables.
2. Factorial design of the experiment can be successfully
employed to describe the wear behavior of the samples
and to develop linear equations for predicting wear rate
with in selected experimental conditions.
3. Among the control factors, normal load has the highest
physical properties as well as statistical influence on the
abrasive wear of the composites (p=0.000), followed by
sliding distance (p= 0.000) and filler content (p=0.031).
The interaction of sliding distance and normal load
21

shows significant effect on the wear rate and other


interactions will influence very less.
4. According to main effects plot, factors combination of
A1, B1 and C1 gives minimum wear rate. That is, 2%
graphite filler, with 11 N load and 300m sliding
distance will lead to a minimum wear rate.
5. Based on the interaction plot, it is observed that the
interaction A x B, i.e., percent filler and normal load
shows significant effect on the wear rate in all three
cases.
6. The coefficient of regression obtained with the
regression value (R2) of

92.1%

shows that the

satisfactory correlation was obtained.


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