Bearings and seals used in fuel cell vehicles and related hydrogen infrastructures are operating in pressurized gaseous hydrogen. However, there is a paucity of available data about the friction and wear behavior of materials in high pressure hydrogen gas. In this study, authors developed a pin-on-disk type apparatus enclosed in a high pressure vessel and characterized tribological behavior of polymeric sealing materials, such as polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE) based composites, in gaseous hydrogen pressurized up to 40 MPa. As a result, the friction coefficient between graphite filled PTFE and austenitic stainless steel in 40 MPa hydrogen gas became lower compared with the friction in helium gas at the same pressure. The chemical composition of worn surfaces was analyzed by using X-ray photoelectron spectrometer (XPS) after the wear test. Results of the chemical analysis indicated that there were several differences in chemical compositions of polymer transfer film formed on the stainless disk surface between high pressure hydrogen environment and high pressure helium environment. In addition, the reduction of surface oxide layer of stainless steel was more significant in high pressure hydrogen gas. These particular effects of the pressurized hydrogen gas on the chemical condition of sliding surfaces might be responsible for the tribological characteristics in the high pressure hydrogen environment.

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