Tribologically optimized textiles
Tribologically modified polymer materials are usually applied in bulk form, e.g. in injection molded parts, or as coatings. These forms of application may be difficult to implement on surfaces with complex geometries. Since technical textiles generally exhibit good drapability on curved surfaces, it appears desirable to transfer the tribological properties of compact polymer compounds to synthetic fibres and textiles.
For this purpose, we develop high-performance polymer compounds with submicron- and nano-sized fillers that are suitable for melt spinning. The melt-spun fibers can subsequently be woven into fabrics. This textile processing is performed in cooperation with the Institute of Textile Technology (ITA) of RWTH Aachen University.
In order to characterize the materials, we run tribological tests at different loads on bulk specimens under dry sliding conditions using established standardized testing methods (Block-on-Ring, Pin-on-Disc). Fabric specimens are tested using an adapted test rig, which resembles a plain bearing geometry. The results suggest that the good tribological properties of bulk polymer compounds can be preserved throughout the textile process chain.
Our current research also focuses on accurately modelling textile-based tribological systems, as the particular geometry of woven textiles results in specific mechanical and thermal load distributions.