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# BOUNDARY LUBRICATION AND ELASTOHYDRODYNAMIC

LUBRICATION

8.1. Introduction

8.2. Boundary lubrications

8.3. Mixed Lubrication

8.4. Elastohydrodynamic Lubrications

8.1. Introduction:

In many practical applications there are cases where the operating conditions are

such that neither hydrodynamic nor EHD lubrication is effective. The question then is:

how are the interacting machine components lubricated and what is the lubrication

mechanism involved? The models of lubrication which are thought to operate under such

conditions are discussed in this chapter. The traditional name for this type of lubrication

is 'boundary lubrication'. Neither of these terms describes accurately the processes at

work since they were conceived long before any fundamental understanding of the

mechanisms was available. Several specialized modes of lubrications such as adsorption,

surface localized viscosity enhancement, amorphous layers and sacrificial films are

commonly involved in this lubrication regime to ensure the smooth-functioning and

reliability of machinery. The imprecise nature of present knowledge about these modes or

mechanisms of lubrication controls with their practical importance. Many vital items of

engineering equipments such as steel gears, piston-rings and metal-working tools depend

on one or more of these lubrication modes to prevent severe wear or high coefficients of

friction and seizure.

Boundary and E.P. lubrication is a complex phenomenon. The lubrication

mechanisms involved can be classified in terms of relative load capacity and limiting

frictional temperature as shown in table 8'1, and they will be described in this chapter.

These lubrication mechanisms are usually controlled by additives present in the

oil. Since the cost of a lubricant additive is usually negligible compared to the, value of

the mechanical equipments, the commercial benefits involved in this type of lubrication

can be quite large.

In general, boundary and E.P. lubrication involves the formation of low friction,

protective layers on the wearing surfaces. One exception is when the surface-localized

viscosity enhancement takes place. The occurrence of surface-localized viscosity

enhancement, however, is extremely limited as is explained in the next section.

8.2. Boundary Lubrications:

The operating principle of the boundary lubrication regime can perhaps be best

illustrated by considering the coefficient of friction. In simple terms the coefficient of

friction „µ.‟ is defined as the ratio of frictional force „F‟ and the load applied normal to

the surface „W‟, i.e.:

µ = F/W ... (8.1)

TABLE 8.1 Categories of boundary and E.P. lubrication.

Temperature Load Lubrication and mechanisms

Low

Low

Viscosity enhancement close to contacting surface, not

specific to lubricant.

High

Friction minimization by coverage of contacting surfaces with

adsorbed mono-molecular layers of surfactants.

High

Medium

Irreversible formation of soap layers and other viscous

materials on worn surface by chemical reaction between

lubricant additives and metal surface. Surface-localized

viscosity enhancement specific to lubricant additive and base

stock. Formation of amorphous layers of finely divided debris

from reaction between additives and substrate metal surface.

High

Reaction between lubricant additives and metal surface.

Formation of sacrificial films of inorganic material on the

worn surface preventing metallic contact and severe wear.

Since the contacting surfaces are covered by asperities, „dry‟ contact is

established between the individual asperities and the „true‟ total contact area is the sum of

the individual contact areas between the asperities. Assuming that the major component

of the frictional force is due to adhesion between the asperities (other effects, e.g.

ploughing, are negligible), then the expression for frictional force „F‟ can be written as:

F = A

t

t where, F is the frictional force [N];

A

t

is the true contact [m

2

];

t is the effective shear stress of the material [Pa].

Applied load can be expressed in terms of contact area, i.e.:

W = A

t

p

y

Where: P

y

is the plastic flow stress of the material (close in value to the

indentation hardness) [Pa].

Substituting for „F‟ and „W‟ to (8.1) yields:

µ = t / p

y

... (8.2)

8.3. Mixed Lubrication:

Most sliding contacts of practical importance, e.g. high speed gearing, are not

lubricated by either purely hydrodynamic, elastohydrodynamic or by classical adsorption

lubrication. Usually two lubrication mechanisms act simultaneously and both are

essential for lowering friction and wear. In many cases most of the applied load is

supported by hydrodynamic or EHD lubrication. However, some additional lubrication

mechanism is required to reduce friction and wear in contacts between large asperities

from opposing surfaces. Even if the fraction of load supported by non-hydrodynamic

means is small, severe wear and perhaps seizure can occur if this additional component of

lubrication is not available. This particular lubrication regime where several mechanisms

act simultaneously is termed „mixed lubrication‟. The current model of this lubrication

regime is illustrated schematically in figure 8.1.

Fig. 8.1 Model of mixed lubrication

Mixed lubrication allows much smaller film thicknesses than pure hydrodynamic

lubrication or EHL. Reduced film thickness coincides with increased load and contact

pressure, if other factors remain unchanged, and this characteristic is the basic reason for

the importance of „mixed lubrication‟.

8.4. Elastohydrodynamic Lubrications (EHL) :

Elastohydrodynamic lubrication can be briefly described as “the study of

situations in which elastic deformation of the surrounding solids plays a significant role

in the hydrodynamic lubrication process”. In most machine applications, forces are

transmitted from one component to another by means of large effective bearing areas, but

it is not uncommon to find in additional nominal line or point contacts. Typical examples

of the latter are gears and rolling contact bearings and these perhaps constitute the most

commonly encountered applications of the elastohydrodynamic phenomenon occurring

between metallic surfaces. It has been recognized for years that many loaded contacts of

low geometrical conformity behave as though they are hydrodynamically lubricated, yet

in the absence of elastohydrodynamic theory, the Reynolds theory of hydrodynamic

lubrication fails to predict why adequate lubrication should exist at all under what

appears to be the most severe and limiting stress conditions. For example, the line contact

of meshing involute gears suggests extremely high pressures (since the area across which

forces are transmitted appears to approach zero), and in the absence of elastic distortion

of the gear teeth it is difficult to imagine a lubricant capable of resisting such pressure.

By allowing for changes in lubricant viscosity with pressure and elastic deformation of

the contacting solids, however, it can be shown that (in agreement with experience)

adequate lubricant will persist under such conditions.

The two significant effects which occur in elastohydrodynamic situations and are

not accounted for in the classical theory are (a) the influence of high pressure on the

viscosity of liquid lubricants, and (b) substantial local deformation of the elastic solids.

These effects drastically change the geometry of the lubricating film which in turn

alters the pressure distribution at the contacts. In essence, the hydrodynamic pressure

generation must be matched with the elastic pressures in the contacting solids, and a

solution to the combined lubrication and elastic equations gives the final

elastohydrodynamic condition at the contact spots.

Although the phenomenon of elastohydrodynamic lubrication was first discovered

as a result of the need for understanding the lubrication of gears and roller bearings, there

has been an increasing interest during the last decade in the lubrication of soft, flexible

surfaces made from elastomeric or polymeric materials. Typical applications such as the

lubrication of windshield wipers, reciprocating and rotary lip seals, flexible-pad thrust

bearings, and automobile tyres sliding and rolling on wet roads. Both the rigid-rigid and

rigid-flexible types of elastohydrodynamic lubrication are treated fundamentally in this

chapter, and it will be seen that distinct difference arises between the two mechanisms.

Before proceeding in this direction, it is first necessary to establish the general nature of

the elastohyclrodynamic problem and the method of solution.

General Iterative Procedure:

The elastohydrodynamic problem involves an iterative procedure to establish

compatibility between the hydrodynamic pressures generated in the lubricating film,

which separates two elastic bodies in relative motion and the elastic pressures which are

developed between the bodies as a consequence of their virtual contact, In simple terms,

we assume some initial film thickness which is inserted in the Reynolds equation to

obtain a pressure distribution.

Fig: 8· 2 The General Iterative Procedure in Elastohydrodynamic Lubrication

If the latter is now inserted in the appropriate elastic equation, an initial estimate

of the elastic displacements is obtained which is then used to modify the original assumed

film-thickness distribution. The iteration continues until the modified film-thickness

distribution is little different from the assumed distribution in anyone iterative step.

Figure 8.1 depicts the iterative sequence in schematic form.

Consider as a specific example of the procedure outlined in Fig. 8.3 the case of a

rigid cylinder approaching a flexible or elastic plane in the pressure of a lubricant. (In

point of fact the distortion of the elastic plane 2 in Fig. 8.2 can be considered as the sum

of the distortions produced in both cylinder and plane if the cylinder is not assumed to be

rigid: thus the example has general validity. and the rigidity of body 1 in the figure does

not limit the generality of the model.) Let h

0

represent the centre-line film thickness at

any instant measured from the base of the cylinder to the under formed profile of the

elastic plane. The actual film thickness h at any x below the cylinder and within the area

of contact is given by

h = h

0

+ x

2

+ w

0

2R

Fig.:8· 3 Example of general Elastohydrodynamic problem: Rigid Cylinder on

Flexible Plane

Where R is the radius of the cylinder and w is the local elastic deflection of the

lower surface. From elasticity considerations we can write for w

w = – 2 p(s) ln (x – 1)

2

dlf

tE‟

Where the equivalent Young‟s modulus E‟ is defined as

1 = 1 1 – v

1

2

+ 1 – v

2

2

E‟ 2 E

1

E

2

and the suffixes 1 and 2 refer to cylinder to cylinder and plane respectively, as

shown. The pressure p(s) in equation (8.2) is variable between the limits s

1

and s

2

, but the

}

logarithm in the same integrand gives difficulties in numerical integration (since at x = s,

the logarithmic function approaches the value minus infinity). One means of avoiding

these difficulties is to write p(s) in the form of a polynomial thus:

n

p(s) = P

0

¿ A

i

s

i

1

The final expression for displacement w becomes:

n

twE’ + const = ¿ A

i

f

i

2R

1

which can be computed. Usually, three terms of the series expression for f

i

are

sufficient to estimate w accurately.

During normal approach of the cylinder in Fig. 8.3, the following form of the

Reynolds equation is appropriate:

c h

3

cp = ch

cx 12q cx ct

and the boundary conditions for the pressure p may be taken as

ln v cp = 0 ln (p) = 0

x÷·

cx

x÷·

It is interesting to note that the initial estimate of the pressure distribution under

the cylinder is the hydrodynamic effect, since hydrodynamic conditions predominate

during the initial stages of the approach. However, the final equilibrium of the cylinder

on the elastic plane is a function only of the elastic properties of the base. Thus the

hydrodynamic pressure distribution converges in the case of normal approach to the

Hertzian or elastic distribution.

We must again emphasize the generality of the approach problem in fig. 8.2. It is

a well known fact that the contact between many machine elements can be represented by

two geometrically and kinematically equivalent cylinders. This in turn can be reduced

either to a single elastic cylinder near a plane rigid boundary or a single rigid cylinder

near a plane flexible boundary, as shown in Fig. 8.3. In this manner, the elastic,

hydrodynamic and kinematic conditions of the original contact are adequately simulated.

Finally, the method of iteration described in this section mayor may not be

directly applicable in its existing form to particular lubrication problems. Thus in metal-

on-metal applications the elastohydrodynamic pressures generated changes the viscosity

of the lubricant by many orders of magnitude, and in sliding applications thermal effects

occur which must be accounted for.

Fundamental Parameters (Normal):

Three significant design parameters in elastohydrodynamic theory are as follows:

Load Parameter w’ = wE’R

Speed Parameter U’ = µ

0

U

ER

Material Parameter G = mE’

where W‟ and U‟ are dimensionless. W is the load per unit width of cylinder (see

fig. 8.4), R the effective radius of the roller pair, E‟ an effective modulus. U the relative

sliding speed, µ

0

a constant value of lubricant viscosity, and m the pressure exponent of

viscosity according to the following relationship:

µ = µ

0

exp

np

Fig: 8.4 Film shape and Pressure Distribution in EHD

( Questions )

1. Explain the boundary lubrication mechanisms.

2. What is mixed lubrication? Under what circumstances the mixed lubrication is

applicable?

3. Write the application of electrohydrodynamic lubrications. Write the design

parameter of electrohydrodynamic lubrication.