Self-lubricating polymer composites for ball bearings or sliding applications

Ref-Nr:

Ball bearings from self-lubricating polymer composite

Technology abstract

A newly formulated filled polymer has been designed by an Austrian SME. It is based on PTFE with selected fibrous fillers and MoS2 to optimize the wear and life time. The new material showed favorable mechanical properties  in vacuum and humid air. It offers the possibility to avoid liquid lubricants and enables long life-times. Application partner is sought.

Technology Description

A new type of “Self Lubricating Polymer Matrix Composites (SLPMC)” was developed. These composites typically consist of a polymeric matrix (e.g. PTFE Polytetrafluoroethylen) and inclusions of two kinds: firstly, hard fillers like short fibres made of glass or minerals, oxide particles or carbon nano fibres (CNF); secondly, solid lubricating particles (MoS2). For space mechanisms, such SLPMC materials exist already, examples based on PTFE are Duroid and PGM. However, Duroid 5813 production was stopped many years ago and PGM-HT was used instead. Yet, anomalies were reported recently. Thus the actual development was initiated.
The material is based on PTFE with selected fibrous fillers and MoS2 to optimize the wear and life time of bearings for space applications. Initial test in air showed the same favourable performance characteristics.

Innovations & Advantages

The innovative aspect of the material lies in its composition and microstructure. It is closer to Duroid than other materials currently available.
Mechanical properties (e.g. ultimate tensile strength, stiffness) are well within the requirements for use in ball bearings for space and torque is less than the one of competitive offers. Initial test in air showed the same favourable performance characteristics.
The new material does not show shrinkage with temperature change, even at up to 150°C. This feature clearly distinguishes the material from those currently available.
The material shows excellent tribological properties, fatigue and wear are very low and ideal for applications with high demand.

Current and Potential Domains of Application

Mechanisms where requirements are stringent and service-free performance and durability are needed while price is less critical.
Current intended application: Roller bearings and sliding applications for space.
Potential domains of application: service-free bearings for robotics, industrial equipment & machinery; prosthesis;