Stepless vehicle drives will assume their place next to automatic switching units throughout the world if they meet their expected fuel-saving potential. This necessitates optimizing the individual components of the CVT as regards their efficiency. The main source of losses are the hydraulic supply units and the losses which result specifically from non-positive transmission. In the case of stepless chain conveners, these result mainly from friction disk deformation. These losses account for 50 to 70 % of total CVT losses. Both loss components are influenced by the lubricant to a significantly greater extent than it would appear at first sight: In the case of fully-hydraulic clamping and control systems, the viscosity and its long-term stability determines the degree of leakage losses and therefore the size of the pump or pump combinations. This applies to pressure levels between 20 and 40 bar. This in turn is directly proportional to the hydraulic losses on the CVT. The friction coefficient of the lubricant determines the level of the necessary clamping forces. These are responsible for friction-disk deformation. Also of importance as far as the selection of lubricant is concerned is its influence on the CVT service life. The critical service life limits for chain converters are chain breakage (not the subject of this report) and evidence of wear, i.e. grey staining, sheave-grooving, pitting, scoring and rocker pin wear. Standardized test methods exist at P.I.V. for both wear manifestations and for the friction coefficient, these tests allowing a targeted selection of lubricants.

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