Abstract

Selective laser melting (SLM) technology has a great potential to reduce size and weight of hydraulic valves. However, the tribological performance of an SLMed valve has not been studied which is crucial for the performance and reliability of the valve, especially under contaminated conditions. In this study, the friction and lubrication behavior between an SLMed valve body and a traditional spool were studied using a scaled reciprocating test rig under various contaminated conditions (frequency at 5 Hz and 25 Hz; particle concentration at 0.4 mg/ml and 4 mg/ml; particle size at 1.6 µm and 15 µm). Three types of SLMed samples were fabricated using different exposure times: one has many large surface pores (pores area > 1000 µm2 accounts for 7.167% of the sample surface); one has a few small surface pores (pores area between 100 µm2 and 1000 µm2 accounts for 0.574% of the sample surface); and one only has micropores (pores area < 300 µm2 accounts for 0.168% of the sample surface). The density, hardness, microstructures, and pore characterization of the SLMed samples were investigated. The results indicated that the frequency greatly influenced friction and lubrication behaviors by determining lubrication regimes. The influence of surface pores on the lubrication and friction depends on contact conditions: pores which served as particle containers to reduce friction are prominent under 5 Hz frequency and high particle concentration; extra lubrication by the surface pores is observed under 25 Hz frequency and low particle concentration.

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