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Polymer coatings to reduce fretting fatigue

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The widespread phenomenon of fretting is a form of wear found between pairs of components that are normally designed to have no relative movement or at least very limited amounts. We often find evidence of fretting on splines, where the degree of axial movement is small, and in race engines we also find evidence of it on mating faces between large structural components. Race engines are commonly constructed using aluminium for the structural components, and where both components are of the...

Metallic plating

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The applications of plating in a racing powertrain aren’t as widespread as we might find in an automotive engine. Engines in general are reasonably benign environments for metallic components: oil is an excellent anti-corrosion fluid and most of the stressed components in an engine or transmission come into contact with oil during use, so many of the applications of metallic plating in an engine are for corrosion resistance. Racing engines are also stripped and inspected much more...

Doped DLC

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DLC (diamond-like carbon) coatings are basically diamond, as their name suggests, but most of the coatings marketed as DLC are not these crystalline diamond coatings. Many people labour under the impression that DLC is one coating, but it is in fact a wide range of coatings which are based on carbon – hundreds of commercially available coatings are marketed as DLC. There are two types of bonds in carbon coatings, known as sp2 and sp3 bonds. Carbon composed solely of sp2 bonds is what...

Chemical vapour deposition

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In the past 15 years or so there has been a huge change in the range of coatings for metallic components in motorsport, with many more suppliers and a much wider choice. Before then, and in terms of hard-wearing coatings, these often implied adding a different material such as a hard metal or ceramic to the component’s surface to a significant thickness before grinding back to finished size. Various spraying techniques were commonly used to apply such materials, and they are still in...

PVD coatings

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PVD coatings are used very widely, and cover everything from the metallic coating on the inside of crisp packets to the hard engineering coatings such as titanium nitride (TiN) that we are more familiar with. However, we are most interested in the hard-wearing, low-friction coatings that have brought us a number of significant benefits in recent years. If we work in a manufacturing environment, it is quite likely that our first exposure to such coatings would be coated cutting tools....