Composite Bearing Design with Improved Tribology

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Composite Bearing Design with Improved Tribology and Machinability for Aggressive Applications

Introduction
Composites bearings are used in a wide range of industries for their strength, superior wear and friction characteristics, and their ability to operate without external lubrication. Filament wound composite bearings with the most effective tribological performance have historically been limited in their dimensional tolerance by the processing capabilities inherent to the winding process. The ability to machine composite bearings to a tight dimensional tolerance has been limited because they typically contain continuous PTFE fibers that fracture and fray in the machining process. Recent developments in self-lubricating fiber/resin composite bearing technology have included fiber construction to overcome machining limitations while providing superior tribological performance. This work offered insight into the nature of machining limitations, specific advancements in materials design to overcome those limitations.


1. Background
Composite bearings have been used in hydropower applications for greater than twenty years as a mechanism to replace grease with lubrication-free operation, and often to improve wear performance and life in comparison to the bronze bearings that have been replaced (1). The wicket gate location has been a particularly challenging bearing condition, including for composites. PTFE-containing composite bearings have been shown to provide superior tribological performance in hydropower (2), and an additional broad range of aggressive industrial applications.
Good dimensional tolerance and stability have been considered to be important to the success of composite bearings in hydropower applications such as the wicket gate location. It is typical to perform some method of secondary sizing on the bearing bore after the winding and curing process to achieve target dimensional tolerance. This has typically been performed on the bearing as part of the manufacturing process......more

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GGB is the world’s leading manufacturer of high-performance, self-lubricating and prelubricated bearings with production facilities in the U.S., Germany, France, Brazil, Slovakia and China. The company serves more than 50,000 customers worldwide in a broad spectrum of applications and industries including automotive, fluid power, agricultural and construction equipment, sports and recreation equipment, renewable energy, primary metals and general industrial. Its product offerings include metal-polymer, solid polymer, filament wound and metal bearings and bushing blocks.  Also provided are industry-leading R&D and testing capabilities, flexible manufacturing, superior technical support and a global network of distributors.