Though powder metallurgy (PM) allows manufacturing of complex components, including gears, we lack knowledge of the tribological performance of PM versus standard steel gear materials. Using a pin-on-disc machine, we simulate the sliding part of gear tooth contact in boundary and mixed lubricated regions, comparing the tribological characteristics of two sintered gear materials with those of a standard gear material. The comparison considered damage mechanisms, wear, and friction between these materials in different configurations (i.e., standard versus standard, sintered versus sintered, and sintered versus standard). The results indicate that, for pairings of the same gear materials, i.e., RS–RS (16MnCr5), AQ–AQ (Distaloy AQ+0.2% C), and Mo–Mo (Astaloy 85Mo+0.2% C), RS has a lower friction coefficient. For PM and RS combinations, both PM pins have lower friction coefficients with RS disc material than do RS pins with PM disc materials. For the wear coefficient, at low and high speeds, RS pins always display better wear resistance than do AQ or Mo pins because of their high hardness and compacted microstructure. For RS–PM combinations, Mo pins display higher wear resistance than do AQ pins because their larger and more numerous pores enable good lubrication. Pins in the Mo–RS combination displayed the highest wear resistance, mainly because the pores in Mo discs hold lubricant, lubricating the contact surface and preventing adhesive wear. For the RS pin in the Mo–RS combination and the AQ pin in RS–AQ, the damage mechanism is slight adhesive wear and scuffing. For pins in the PM–PM, RS–PM, AQ–RS, and RS–RS combinations, the damage mechanism is a heavier scuffing-type adhesive wear.
Powder metallurgy (PM) is usually used in manufacturing parts with complex geometries, such as gears and structural parts. The main attractions of PM are the high rate of material utilization, environmental friendliness of production, economic advantages (especially for complex geometries), and possibility of obtaining lighter components. To find a wide range of applications and compete with regular steel gears, PM gear transmissions should have good transmission efficiency and wear properties. Furthermore, they should have low contact noise and adequate surface fatigue properties. Because of the porosity structure of PM gears both on gear flanks and in the body, the friction and wear properties of PM gear flank contacts differ somewhat from those of regular steel gears.
This doctoral thesis examines the efficiency and wear properties of PM gears. Paper A compares the wear, friction, and damage mechanism properties of two sintered gear materials with those of a standard gear material. Paper B deals with the gear mesh torque loss mechanism of PM and regular steel gears by combining both pin-on-disc frictional and FZG efficiency tests. Paper C comparatively examines the efficiency of PM and regular steel gears by conducting FZG gear efficiency tests. Paper D focuses on the wear and friction properties of PM and regular steel gear materials treated using the triboconditioning process. Paper E studies the friction and wear properties attributable to different pore sizes in PM gear materials.
The results indicate that regular steel meshed with PM gear material and PM meshed with PM gear material are good candidate combinations for gear transmissions. This is because the porosities of PM material can lower the friction coefficient while the wear rate can be the same as or even better than that of regular steel contacts. The triboconditioning process enhances the wear resistance and reduces the friction coefficient of the PM gear material. The friction and wear coefficients of PM meshed with PM gear material display increasing trends with increasing pore size. The friction and wear coefficients of regular steel meshed with PM gear material display decreasing trends with increasing pore size.