A model for predicting the onset of severe wear for a conformal polymer/metal sliding contact with forced convective cooling has been developed. Finite difference techniques were used for the solution of the bulk contact temperature for the two-dimensional model. The flash temperature was calculated assuming a limiting-case annular, stationary heat source. The limiting load for a given set of operating conditions was solved iteratively, assuming a relationship between strength and temperature, for a heat-resistant polymer, polyethersulphone (PES). An experimental apparatus was constructed, and specimens were tested near the predicted points of wear instability. In addition, specimens were examined using a scanning electron microscope (SEM), and at the most severe operating conditions, signs of thermal softening and gross material transfer were evident. A discussion of model is made in light of the predicted and experimental results.

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