Tribology of newly developed EAL versus water in hydropower turbine bearings
Abstract: The increasing demand for more readily bio-degradable, renewable and non-toxic environmentally adaptive lubricants with a lower degree of bioaccumulation has escalated the investigation of water-based lubricants as the potential alternatives for conventional mineral-based oils. Water is an excellent environmentally adapted lubricant; however, it is a low viscous fluid and holds downsides of having corrosive nature and extremely low pressure-viscosity coefficient leading to insufficient load-carrying capacity. These shortcomings make pure water a poor choice for operations involving high load and low speed, for instance, within hydropower applications. Therefore, the choice of appropriate modifiers and additives is crucial to improve the viscosity, friction-reducing performance and anti-wear properties of water as a base lubricant. Appropriate selection and combination of bearing materials also significantly improve the tribological performance of the lubricants. In the presented work, tribological behavior of polyvinylpyrrolidone (PVP) and poly(sodium 4-styrenesulfonate) (PSS) thickening agents with water as a base fluid in the lubrication of pure UHMWPE and SCF reinforced UHMWPE bearing materials has been investigated individually under reciprocating tribometer. The results showed that both PVP and PSS are excellent viscosity modifiers. PVP exhibited excellent friction-reducing and anti-wear performance, while PSS revealed increased wear rates with an insignificant reduction of friction coefficients. This study aims to explore the potential for using newly developed water-based lubricants in the replacement of traditional mineral-based lubricants for hydropower turbine bearings.
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