Contact mechanics of filled polymer systems

Polymers play an increasingly important role in tribological applications, for instance in coatings, bearings, and gears, but also in biomedical applications like artificial knee and hip joints. As these applications require high durability, better understanding of the onset of wear and the underlying mechanism of friction is key. A previous study for the first time showed that the frictional properties are quantitatively related to the polymers' intrinsic mechanical response. This study, funded by Akzo Nobel, aims to extend this approach to polymer composites. The choice for this subject is motivated by their observation of an improved wear resistance of TiO2-filled epoxy coatings, i.e. a hard filler in a polymer matrix. So far, the underlying mechanisms of the improved properties are ill understood.

Research type: experimental/numerical