Published: Jan 2007
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HOW DOES A PERSON START IN ADDRESSING THE task of conducting a wear test? The same way that any engineering or research effort is started: decide upon the purpose and objective of the proposed test. This is not a trivial task. These elements should be well thought out as they can affect the entire test program. Some of the common reasons for conducting a wear tests include the following: 1. Purpose: to solve a current wear problem Objective: to get a machine back in operation 2. Purpose: to prevent a perceived wear problem in a new system Objective: to ensure desired serviceability of a machine 3. Purpose: to rank a class of materials or treatments for wear resistance Objective: to provide guidelines on application of materials and treatments to provide optimum serviceability 4. Purpose: to research a wear mechanism Objective: to design materials that will resist a type of wear 5. Purpose: to develop wear resistant materials or treatments Objective: to make profits for your company who will market the material or treatment
The approach to take in establishing a wear test program will depend on the purpose and objective. For example, if a material user wants to know which type of plastic bushing will run against a soft carbon steel shaft in a particular machine, the boundary conditions for the test program have been established. The goal is to test plastics against a common counterface, and the operating conditions of the elements of the wear system are known. The next step is apparent: select a test machine, candidate materials, establish a test procedure, and proceed to rank the candidate plastics for relative merit.
On the other hand, if the purpose is to develop a wear-resistant diffusion coating so that a heat treating shop can market the process, the test program will be quite different. The treatment developed by your company may be used in a myriad of ways and you must consider the many types of wear that a coating-for-sale might see. A coating that provides excellent metal-to-metal wear may fail miserably when subjected to solid particle erosion. Thus, the very first step to be taken in wear testing is to establish firmly the purpose and objective of the test so that boundary conditions may be established on the test program.