We specialise in the mechanical testing and characterisation of lubricants.
R&D Support in Lubricant Development
We provide support in lubricant development projects to clients from all over the world. We are experts in lubricant testing. We are able to design, develop and launch new ways of testing and characterising lubricants for many applications.
We offer contract testing using our in-house instruments. Contract testing is carried out for a variety of clients, including lubricant and additive manufacturers, OEMs and researchers working at the cutting edge of Tribology. We ensure the highest levels of repeatability and reproducibility, by using standard operating procedures, regular instrument servicing, calibration and reference testing.
Test Method Development
We develop fast and accurate screener tests, to help accelerate the development of new lubricants. This can include simple friction and wear tests to more complex methods such as surface fatigue and scuffing tests.
We conduct complex modelling projects, linking the results from small test rigs to large expensive test rigs. This can include the development of bespoke test methods, using the most appropriate materials, speeds, loads temperatures etc – then we use statistical methods and complex algorithms to find correlations between the screener test and the engine test/field test.
Stribeck curves can be used to quickly asses the lubricants ability to reduce friction in the boundary, mixed and EHD regime. We can conduct Stribeck curve evaluations of lubricants between ambient temperature and 150 °C.
Traction curves can be used to develop lubricants for specific applications, for example high traction fluids for CVTs. The can also be used to help understand the physical changes of the lubricant under high contact pressures. This can then be used to help develop new lubricants with special properties, for example with low traction to help in machine efficiency.
Friction is measured continuously over time. The reaction of additives, the occurrence of wear the lubricant starvation can all be observed in this way. Normally dynamic friction measurements are used to monitor the running in of the contact specimens and the formation of tribofilms, before conducting Stribeck curves.
We utilise the MTM2 Spacer Layer Image Mapping (SLIM) technique to observe the formation of boundary Tribofilms directly. These images give data on the critical parameters of the tribofilm, its thickness and morphology. These help to gain insight into the Tribofilms that are formed in real mechanical components. This technique can be used to find formulations which form more desirable tribofilms.
Creep curves can be used to gain an insight into the sound and traction performance of the TOR materials and flange products. The TOR Material Creep curve method was developed with the Railway Standards Safety Board and the ELGI. It is included in the standard: CEN/TS 15427-2-2:2019
We conduct pin-on-disc testing, conforming to ASTM G99. This method is commonly used to evaluate new materials and lubricants, in terms of their wear performance.
The Ingram-Roots method is used to evaluate and rate lubricants in terms of their ability to reduce friction in the boundary, mixed and EHD regime.
Micropitting is a concern in gears and sometimes bearings. Surface treatments, materials and chemical additives can be used to reduce the occurrence of micropitting. We can evaluate this performance.
White etching cracks is a type of subsurface initiated pitting failure of hardened steels. These are commonly observed in wind turbine bearings. We generate WECs on small rollers and conduct subsurface analysis to confirm their presence.
We conduct subsurface analysis by sectioning and grinding of metal parts to help understand any failure mechanisms. Particularly WECs, pitting and micropitting.
PCS Instruments, Mini Traction Machine (Mk 1), with reciprocating and pin-on-disc capabilities
PCS Instruments, Mini Traction Machine (Mk 2), with SLIM (Mapper), reciprocating and pin-on-disc capabilities
PCS Instruments, Micropitting rig (MPR)
Custon made pin-on-disc test rig (MPOD) x 2
High Mag Metallurgical grade long drop, microscope (Brunel SP-400)
2 x Prusa 3D Printer (Mk3S)
Prusa 3D Printer (Mk3S) with MMU
We are experts in tribology testing and understanding. Our expertise allows us to determine lubricant and chemical effects in tribology testing to aid product development.
We have experience in the following standardised and non-standardised lubricant tests:
Standardised Test Procedures
- FZG Scuffing (DIN 51354 Part 1, ASTM D-5182)
- FZG Micropitting (FVA 54)
- FZG pitting
- Dynamic seals
- Slideways – stick-slip and MWF compatibility testing
- Bosch Rexroth RFT-APU-CL
- Ortlinghaus clutch test
- Four ball weld (DIN 51350, ASTM D-2783)
- Four ball wear( DIN 51350, ASTM D-4172)
- Brugger (DIN 51347)
- Timken (DIN 51434, ASTM D-2782)
- PCS Instruments MTM
Wet clutch screening
Antiwear film build up
Dynamic seal friction
- PCS Instruments MPR
Micropitting screening for FZG
White etching crack generation
Surface treatment evaluation
- PCS Instruments EHD Film Thickness
Central film thickness measurement
Film thickness mapping
- PCS Instruments USV
Permanent and temporary polymer shear viscosity loss
- Bruker UMT
Hydraulic piston seals stick-slip (squawk)
Static friction measurement
- Anton Parr Tribo-cell
Static friction measurement
Wet clutch static and dynamic friction
Wet clutch ageing simulation
Custom rigs/modified rigs
We are able to support our clients in the specification, design and commissioning of specialist test rigs.
Failure Mode Identification
We have experience identifying lubricant and non-lubricant related machine element failures. Including those found in gears, bearings and seals:
- White etching Cracks
- Coating delamination
- High voltage arcing
- ESD (in filters)
Surface and subsurface analysis
We have expertise in surface analysis and are able to use this to identify and rate surface related chemical effects. We have experience using subsurface analysis to find and quantify inclusions and cracks in steels.
Lubricants and lubricant additives
We are experts in lubricants and lubricant formulation, including:
- Base oils
- Friction modifiers
- Corrosion inhibitor
- Extreme pressure agent
- Viscosity index improvers/viscosity modifiers
- Seal swell agents
Reference oil formulation
We are able to select or formulate reliable and consistent reference oils. These are important for the development of any new standard or screening tests.