Electric sliding contacts are widely used in various electrical components such as for home appliances and automobiles. The purpose of the present study is to improve the performance characteristics of the electric sliding contacts operating under the lubricated condition by the combination of circular grooved disk and rider with a spherical surface. The experimental and theoretical analyses have been carried out to investigate the effect of cross-sectional area of circular grooves provided in the rotating disk surface on the frictional characteristics and the electrical conductivity. The experimental analysis is conducted with a pin-on-disk friction tester to measure the frictional force and the contact voltage between the sliding contacts under the lubricated condition. The oil-film force and the frictional force between the rider and disk are also calculated with the Reynolds equation and they are found to be closely corresponding to the experimental results. The results obtained in the present study show that increasing the cross-sectional area of the circular grooves on the disk extends the operation condition yielding the metal contact to a higher value of the bearing characteristic number S, which is defined by ηU0L0λ/W (η is the lubricant oil viscosity, U0 is the sliding velocity, L0 is the rider arc length in the sliding direction at the middle of radial width, W is the applied load, and λ is the aspect ratio of rider), and also decreases the frictional force at the maximum value of S at which the rider could contact with the disk surface. These are expected since upstream lubricant oil dragged into the contact region tends to easily leak out along the circular grooves, yielding a lower oil-film force between the rider and disk and enhancing the metal contact.

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