A study on wear characteristics of high strength steels under sliding contact

Abstract: In the last decades, significant improvements regarding the design, materials and technology of rock drills have been made. Likewise, in sheet metal forming, forming tools experience very high contact pressures when processing high strength steel sheets. In both applications components operate under extremely tough contact conditions that result in an accelerated component failure. Enhancements on mechanical properties of components material subjected to extreme contact conditions are highly required in order to withstand the application loads and prevent severe wear.The present thesis was focused on understanding of machinery component damage mechanisms under severe contact conditions. A case study of worn components used in rock drilling and sheet metal cold work was carried out. Thread joints from rock drilling and punches from sheet metal pressing were selected for the investigation. For these components, sliding contact under high contact pressure is a common load condition under the components usage. Then, to understand and quantify the influence of contact parameters, load and surface quality on material performance, laboratory simulations were performed. The results were used for a comparative analysis of the typical damage mechanisms observed in the tests and the case study of the components.The case study results showed that the threaded surfaces underwent severe plastic deformation due to the high-pressure sliding contact. The microstructure beneath the worn surface was altered and surface cracks and delamination were frequently observed at the worn surface. The dominant damage mechanism found on the investigated punches was adhesive wear. Material transfer adds friction stresses at the punch surface and ultimately, with repeated punch strokes, it leads to initiation and propagation of fatigue cracks.Wear process in thread joint and punch wear was simulated using the SOFS. The worn specimens tested experimentally showed similar wear mechanisms obtained in the case study. The thread joint wear simulation showed that the total damage at the worn surface was a result of adhesive wear, plastic deformation, and initiation and propagation of fatigue cracks. In addition, the results showed that the type of motion had a significant influence on the worn volume and crack initiation, and more severe wear was observed at reciprocal motion. The punch wear simulation showed that the friction quickly increased as work material from metal sheets transferred to the disc surface. The rate of the material transfer was strongly dependent on the combination of sheet material and tool steel. Further, the present experimental simulations were applicable to characterize and predict wear of components in the application.