Abstract

The electrical transients which accompany the stick-slip phenomenon in boundary lubrication have been investigated by an apparatus which permits simultaneous oscillographic measurement of any two of the following: The instantaneous load, the instantaneous frictional drag, the electrical transient potentials during the stick-slip motion. The phenomenon has been investigated with unlubricated metal-metal contact using four metals in various combinations, lubricated metal-metal contact using various combinations of metals and five lubricants, and metal-plastic contact; in all cases, the contact was a sliding contact at low speed, since this accentuates the stick-slip phenomenon. Definite time correlation between the mechanical stick-slip and the electrical transients has been found. The characteristics of the electrical discharge appear to favor a charge-discharge mechanism rather than a thermoelectric potential or a dielectric breakdown mechanism, although further experiments are necessary to provide unambiguous proof of such a conclusion. Certain related frictional experiments were performed which, however, also favor such a mechanism.

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