The effect of molecular weight on the behavior of polystyrene coated steel disks under fretting conditions

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Virginia Tech

Thin polymeric coatings have been applied to metal surfaces to prevent and/or prolong the onset of fretting corrosion, but the properties that make a polymeric coating effective and the means by which a coating fails are unknown. The purpose of this study was to determine the effect of molecular weight, casting solvent, and amplitude of motion on the life of thin (25 ~m nominal) polystyrene coatings. Narrow molecular weight distribution polystyrene coatings ranging from =19,400 to =1,460,000 were applied to UNS G10450 steel disks with toluene and MEK as casting solvents. The coatings were fretted against UNS G52100 steel balls at 20 Hz under 22.3 N normal load. Amplitudes of motion ranged from 100 ~m to 500 ~m. Coating life and friction force were measured. Coatings of =207,700 showed maximum life at all amplitudes. Friction remained constant for all tests, and increasing amplitude decreased life. Toluene-cast coatings had slightly shorter lives and more coating racks than MEK-cast coatings. Toluene-cast coatings below =53,700 cracked severely during solvent removal and were not tested.