NSF supports Lehigh-DuPont research into industry's hidden profit killer
That's a low estimate of how much friction and wear costs the U.S. every year. In fact, studies suggest that so-called "normal wear and tear" costs industrialized countries some 2 to 6 percent of their annual gross domestic product.
How so? Nearly every machine ever created has at least one performance-critical sliding interface. Joints, bushings and bearings must operate reliably with low friction and low wear for the machine to perform as desired. When parts wear out, materials are wasted, quality suffers, and downtime and replacement expenses accrue on a massive scale, across all industry and consumer sectors.
Dr. Brandon Krick of mechanical engineering and mechanics is a tribologist - an expert in the study of the effects of friction on moving machine parts, and methods of easing those effects. Krick and his students have joined forces with engineers at DuPont to research ultralow-wear composite materials suitable for manufacturability and usage in commercial and industrial settings. The partnership has recently been awarded a National Science Foundation 'GOALI' grant to explore how various material structures, composition, processing and operating conditions impact tribological performance.