Research Papers: Elastohydrodynamic Lubrication

Modeling Dark and White Layer Formation on Elastohydrodynamically Lubricated Steel Surfaces by Thermomechanical Indentation or Abrasion by Metallic Particles

[+] Author and Article Information
George K. Nikas

KADMOS Engineering Ltd.,
3 Princes Mews,
Hounslow TW3 3RF, UK
e-mail: gnikas@teemail.gr

Contributed by the Tribology Division of ASME for publication in the JOURNAL OF TRIBOLOGY. Manuscript received December 24, 2014; final manuscript received February 6, 2015; published online April 15, 2015. Assoc. Editor: Sinan Muftu.

J. Tribol 137(3), 031504 (Jul 01, 2015) (20 pages) Paper No: TRIB-14-1315; doi: 10.1115/1.4029944 History: Received December 24, 2014; Revised February 06, 2015; Online April 15, 2015

In a series of publications, the author has shown that the passage of ductile microparticles through elastohydrodynamic (EHD) contacts results in frictional heating that can greatly affect surface damage. The thermoviscoplastic numerical model built for those studies is extended in the present article. A more rigorous analysis of dynamic (strain-rate) effects is performed and a new element of heating is introduced, namely, that owed to plastic work of the surfaces being indented. The model is then quantitatively validated against experimental data on soft and hard particles extruded in rolling and rolling–sliding contacts. It is also compared to past numerical predictions of the author. Following its validation, the model is further expanded to predict the formation of dark and white tribochemical layers of overtempered and untempered martensite, respectively, on steel surfaces, caused by the particle-induced frictional heating. Such layers are well-known in machining processes of hardened steels as being the result of phase transformations and play a critical role in contact fatigue. The debris model in this article is used to predict the layer thickness and relative hardness for a variety of operating conditions. Layers of micrometric thickness are typically found and graphic examples are presented, linking their location to that of debris dents. A parametric study examines the role of particle size and hardness, Coulomb friction coefficient, and contact rolling velocity on dark and white layer thickness and relative hardness. The layers are zones of great inhomogeneity and thermomechanical anisotropy, increasing the risk of spalling by delamination as they are potential sources of crack initiation, particularly in sliding contacts. However, white layers in particular may actually be beneficial to contact fatigue in rolling contacts because of their substantially increased hardness. The conclusion of the study is that debris-driven surface indentation and abrasion should no longer be viewed from a purely mechanistic or geometrical perspective but has to consider the tribochemical or microstructural-modification factor for the correct evaluation of the remaining useful life of a dented or abraded contact.

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ASM International, 1991, Heat Treating of Steels and Surface Hardening of Steel, ASM Handbook, Heat Treating, vol. 4, ASM International, Materials Park. OH.
Beswick, J., 1984, “Effect of Prior Cold Work on the Martensite Transformation in SAE 52100,” Metall. Trans., 15(2), pp. 299–306. [CrossRef]
Ville, F., and Nelias, D., 1999, “An Experimental Study of the Concentration and Shape of Dents Caused by Spherical Metallic Particles in EHL Contacts,” Tribol. Trans., 42(1), pp. 231–240. [CrossRef]
Ville, F., and Nelias, D., 1997, “Influence of the Nature and Size of Solid Particles on the Indentation Features in EHL Contacts,” Proceedings of the 24th Leeds-Lyon Symposium on Tribology, London, Sept. 4–6, Elsevier, Amsterdam, Vol. 34, pp. 399–409.


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Fig. 1

Model of particle deformation and partitioning into orthogonal blocks (not to scale)

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Fig. 2

Dark layer, white layer and dent on AISI 52100 steel surface 1 (driver) after indentation by a 36 μm, M50 steel particle, in an EHD contact with 20% slide–roll ratio. The particle sticks to this surface and abrades the other. Input data in Table 1 and results in Tables 2–4.

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Fig. 3

Dark layer, white layer and dent on AISI 52100 steel surface 2 (follower) after abrasion by a 36 μm, M50 steel particle, in an EHD contact with 20% slide–roll ratio. Input data in Table 1 and results in Tables 2–4.

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Fig. 4

Dark layers, white layers and dents on AISI 52100 steel counter-surfaces after abrasion by a 36 μm, M50 steel particle, in an EHD contact with 20% slide–roll ratio. Cross section shown at y = 0. Input data in Table 1; results in Tables 2–4 and Figs. 2 and 3.

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Fig. 5

Effect of particle size on dark and white layer thickness (a) and relative hardness (b). Input data as in Table 5.

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Fig. 6

Effect of particle cold hardness on dark and white layer thickness (a) and relative hardness (b). Input data as in Table 5.

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Fig. 7

Effect of Coulomb friction coefficient μ on dark and white layer thickness (a) and relative hardness (b). Input data as in Table 5.

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Fig. 8

Effect of the rolling velocity of the EHD contact on dark and white layer thickness (a) and relative hardness (b). Input data as in Table 5.



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