Environmentally Acceptable Friction Composites
Newby, William Robert
Date: 31 January 2014
University of Exeter
PhD in Engineering
Currently, the production of most non-asbestos organic (NAO) friction materials depends on a long and energy intensive manufacturing process and an unsustainable supply of synthetic resins and fibres; it is both expensive and bad for the environment. In this research, a new, more energy efficient, manufacturing process was developed ...
Currently, the production of most non-asbestos organic (NAO) friction materials depends on a long and energy intensive manufacturing process and an unsustainable supply of synthetic resins and fibres; it is both expensive and bad for the environment. In this research, a new, more energy efficient, manufacturing process was developed which makes use of a naturally derived resin and natural plant fibres. The new process is known as 'cold moulding' and is fundamentally different from the conventional method. It was used to develop a new brake pad for use in low temperature (<400 °C) applications, such as rapid urban rail transit (RURT) trains. A commercially available resin based upon cashew nut shell liquid (CNSL) was analysed and found to have properties suitable for cold moulding. In addition, hemp fibre was identified as a suitable composite reinforcement. This was processed to improve its morphology and blended with aramid to improve its thermal stability. Each stage of cold mould manufacture was thoroughly investigated and the critical process parameters were identified. The entire procedure was successfully scaled up to produce an industrially sized 250 kg batch of material and the resultant composites were found to have appropriate thermal and mechanical properties for use in a rail brake pad. The tribological performance of these composites was iteratively developed through a rigorous testing and evaluation procedure. This was performed on both sub- and full-scale dynamometers. By adding various abrasives, lubricants, and fillers to the formulation it was possible to produce a brake pad with similar friction characteristics to the current market material, but with a 60% lower wear rate. In addition, this brake pad caused 15% less wear to the brake disc. A detailed examination of both halves of the friction couple found that cold moulded composites exhibit a different wear mechanism from the current market material, which was suggested to be the reason for their superior properties. Cold moulding is 3.5x faster and uses 400% less energy than the conventional method.
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