How Tribology Led to the use of DuPont™ Vespel®

Tribology is based on the Greek word for “rubbing, grinding”, or “wearing away”. It’s study has lead to advances in material selection for high load applications such as bearings. Plastic materials such as DuPont™ Vespel® have been key in reducing friction and adding cost savings in the long run.

Tribology is a highly pervasive occurrence that can cause parts to have a much shorter life. So pervasive that it became a study all it’s own. In 1964, Peter Jost, a lubrication expert was inspired during a conference and out of this he began an entire discipline around tribology. You can learn more about Professor Jost in this interview Today we have many lubricants that range from the natural to the synthetic. They can all help to reduce friction. Thanks to the world of plastics we also have some materials like DuPont™ Vespel® that provide vast improvements beyond lubricants These new polyimide materials allow engineers to create parts and machinery they never thought possible and to greatly improve the efficiency and life of those parts.

We can thank the discipline of tribology for longer part life.

We can thank the discipline of tribology for longer part life.

Just think, if you had asked for a 10 year / 100,000 mile warranty 20 years ago the sales person would have laughed for a very good long time. Now, it’s the standard thanks in part to the discipline of tribology and new materials like Vespel. Due to their properties materials like DuPont™ Vespel® have found their way into commercial transportation industries, medical, food processing and manufacturing of all types. They simply have a unique combination of properties that makes them highly durable even under the harshest conditions.

Plastic materials are making a big difference in our ability to reduce friction and cost due to reduced wear and less need for lubrication and maintenance.

DuPont™ Vespel® has been a marvel of the plastics industry for decades. Now the SCP family of materials has been added to help with extended part life in sealing and bearing applications. It is most noted for it’s ability to be used in non-lubricated high-friction environments because of it’s exceptional heat and pressure resistance capabilities. The SCP 5009 material in particular performs well with or without lubrication under conditions that would cause severe wear or destruction of most other plastics. SCP 5009 is often used in bearing applications because it will reduce or eliminate problems with abrasion, corrosion, adhesion fatigue, and wear that plague conventional options such as metal bearings. Addition of a lubricant can improve performance even more!

Technical Properties of DuPont™ Vespel® SCP 5009

 

Technical Data for DuPont Vespel SCP 5009

Technical Data for DuPont Vespel SCP 5009

(Technical data provided by DuPont)

Using DuPont™ Vespel® SCP-5009 shapes for seals, valves, bearings, bushings, and other components can mean savings due to lower replacement rates which leads to reduced maintenance costs. It’s also easy to machine. Most Vespel can be machined on the same equipment used for metals like brass. (See our video on machining techniques) and that can mean fewer rejects, higher productivity and reliability.

Key industries that have studied tribology and found that DuPont™ Vespel® SCP-5009 shapes can offer substantial processing, performance and metals replacement advantages include analytical instrumentation, medical devices, aerospace and energy and material handling.

In a comparison to metal ball, needle and roller bearings, a part made from high temperature material like DuPont™ Vespel® SCP-5009 has advantages that include:

• No external lubrication
• The ability to hold up in temperature where lubricants fail
• Perform in dirty environments including dusty or where lint is present
• They typically weigh less and are quieter
• Compared to porous metals, bronze and brass the wear life may be much greater
• Vespel holds up to high pressure and high velocity
• Creep resistance

In addition, SCP 5009 can perform at temperatures and velocities beyond that of other plastic materials.

SCP 5009 is just one example but it’s one that shows how, thanks to the discipline of tribology, plastics are becoming more mainstream in manufacturing and it’s not due to a short term gain of cheaper material. Rather tribology has given us a longterm view of parts that looks at longer life, less maintenance and improved performance. Therein lies the true value and savings.

For more information on any of the information in this blog feel free to contact me.

Kendall Montague
Sales & Marketing Manager – DuPont™ Vespel®
ThyssenKrupp Materials NA
AIN Plastics Division

To ask me a question please comment on my post here or contact me directly:
Phone: (314) 502-0813
email: kendall.monatgue@thyssenkrupp.com

 

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