Algorithmic Control of Lubrication in Tribotronic Systems

Sherrington, Ian orcid iconORCID: 0000-0003-1283-9850 and Smith, Edward H orcid iconORCID: 0000-0003-0093-4463 (2018) Algorithmic Control of Lubrication in Tribotronic Systems. In: LUBMAT 2018, 5th & 6th June 2018, San Sebastian Spain. (Unpublished)

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Tribotronic devices are tribological components or systems, such as bearings, seals and gears that incorporate sensors, intelligence and actuators which their own performance to adjust their operation for a range of situations. These systems, offer many potential benefits including improved function, better maintainability, extended life (lower wear), reduced friction (lower power loss), intelligent control and real-time duty information.

This paper describes the main elements of a tribotronic (active) system and using simple theoretical models demonstrates in principle how an algorithmic approach can be adopted to control such systems working in the hydrodynamic regime to beneficial effect. Two case studies are considered, these being: hydrodynamic tilted pad bearings and lip seals. The paper shows that, using well established theory, control of lubricating film thickness can be used to moderate operating parameters such as temperature, lubricant leakage and power loss. However, it is noted that the direct measurement of lubricating film thickness is not routine and such measurements tend to be limited to applications in research and development. The practical challenge, therefore, is to find a more suitable, parameter that can used as alternative (proxy) for lubricating film thickness. The paper discusses how other parameters, such as temperature might be used to achieve this.

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