This work is devoted to investigate the effects of thermal buckling on the tribological characteristics of a Cu-based wet clutch by artificially modifying friction pairs into different contact ratios. A thermal lubrication model is provided, and corresponding experiments are conducted on the wet clutch comprehensive test bench. The friction results from measurements and simulations for such modified friction pairs are analyzed. The results show that, as the contact ratio reduces, surface temperature rises obviously, and friction coefficient increases dramatically, so that local friction torque and total output torque grow significantly. In addition, the vibration of the output torque becomes more severe as the contact ratio reduces. Therefore, the nonuniform contact after thermal buckling exacerbates the friction characteristics of friction pairs severely and accelerates the failure of wet clutches.

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