MANUAL Published: 08 November 2019

Chapter 47 | Tribology Testing and Modeling


To enhance innovation and reduce development risk, tribology testing is described to provide both science meaning and engineering usefulness. Highly stressed lubricated contacts of rolling element bearings and gears operating in major mechanical systems are simulated and modeled through the use a series of Technology Readiness Level (TRL) test methods. Custom test machines and configurations are used to provide: (1) fundamental property data, like pressure-viscosity and traction coefficient, (2) lubrication and failure mechanisms, and (3) full simulation testing of the contact in its operating environment. To get tribology into the design and performance prediction realm, simulation testing is accompanied by a Single Contact Model (SCM). Testing and modeling are based on a common denominator for the contacting surfaces of bearings and gears—the Hertzian contact condition. These contacts are characterized by engineering parameters representing motions, stresses, and temperatures (MST). Tests are designed to have these external parameters drive the contact system defined by the tribology materials, mechanisms, and their manifestations (Tm) during operation. These tribology building blocks (MSTTm) are used to develop a comprehensive methodology for tribology technology development and application. Examples of lower level TRL tests are shown to enable TRL 4 simulation testing and modeling to be used for development. The methodology to link simulation testing and modeling to operating service hardware uses oil rheology as a control variable. The oil is the lifeblood of the contact to generate oil films. The measurement of traction serves as the heartbeat of the contact to know what mechanisms are active during operation. A breakthrough in traction modeling provides the enabling technology for an effective testing and modeling methodology.

Author Information

Wedeven, Lavern
Wedeven Associates, Inc., Edgmont, PA, US
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Developed by Committee: D02
Pages: 1631–1670
DOI: 10.1520/MNL3720180004
ISBN-EB: 978-0-8031-7090-2
ISBN-13: 978-0-8031-7089-6