2nd NWE Mini Projects

date: June 21, 2021

category: Trainings

As part of the 2nd Network Wide Event, the students prepared and presented 3 group mini projects dealing with sustainable engineering.









Minimising Energy Consumption with Focus on Friction

The global concern with environmental issues and sustainability, combined with the urge of reducing energy consumption in systems has led to the development of different green tribological technologies. A review of some recent techniques used to reduce friction in the contacts was done. Organic friction modifiers, carbon-based additives and nanoparticles, DLC coatings, advanced materials, and new manufacturing techniques were briefly discussed. More research is needed to fully understand their mechanism of action for friction reduction to consolidate the green solutions.

Thus, utilizing the green concept in the development of tribological technologies could significantly improve energy efficiency and reduce CO2 and other toxic emissions. Extensive research has been done on lubrication and advanced materials to reduce energy consumption, but their effect on environmental toxicity, recycling, and final disposal still needs to be explored in detail. Therefore, friction reduction by developing new green technologies focusing on Life Cycle Analysis (LCA) can improve the lifespan of machine components that will result in lower CO2 emission and reduce energy consumption for developing a sustainable greener future. A full LCA for a circular economy needs to be conducted considering multiple impact factors, such as energy usage and emissions during the processing phase, application-based usage, and disposal or recycling.

The primary emphasis of the GreenTRIBOS project is to develop various mechanical systems that will surely provide solutions for the current challenges to build innovative green tribological systems along with developing novel materials, lubricants, coatings, and surfaces that will be green in their functionalities and essence.

Authors: P. Afrina Khan, N. Dhakal, P. Martins Ferreira, I. Nadeem

Impact of Wear on Resource Depletion and Sustainability of Products and Processes

Sustainability in tribology gained increasing interest due to the impact tribological phenomena can have on ecological, economic and social facets of various applications. Notably, surface asperities in contact under relative motion can lead to wear, causing substantial losses of resources. Wear is not an intrinsic property of materials – rather, it is dictated by the functional properties of the working surface.

Green Surface Engineering seeks to modify the surface to optimize resource utilization. Particularly, depositing a coating of desired tribological properties over a base material can drastically enhance wear resistance under certain contact conditions. Coatings may be fabricated using a variety of materials and structures, providing innumerous solutions to meet the requirements of a given system.
Coatings are invaluable for the machining industry, where premature failure of tools due to extensive wear is predominant. Furthermore, traditional methods of wear reduction make use of lubricants containing harmful additives. Therefore, efforts to reduce the quantity of coolant during machining via the minimum quantity lubricant (MQL) approach are indispensable.

With the evolution of the energy, transport and space sectors, novel technologies that perform well under unconventional, severe conditions, such as cryogenic liquids and gases, have become essential. These technologies must present high wear resistance, while remaining efficient, durable and reliable, and maintaining low operational and production costs.

Incorporation of nanoparticles as reinforcements can have a significant impact on the wear resistance of polymer nanocomposites. However, numerous aspects must be considered, such as loading, particle size, and interaction with matrices to achieve the optimal performance.

This project presented different approaches to improve the wear behaviour of materials. Additionally, the importance of combining tribological performance assessment with lifecycle environmental assessment could prove to be a relevant asset in researching alternative solutions to more sustainable materials or processes. Still, there are research gaps that need further investigation.

Authors: L. M. Kneißl, S. A. Khan, L. M. Ihara, M. Y. Nikonovich

Minimising Pollution and Emissions

European Union with its total primary energy supply of 11.7% of global capacity has huge potential not only to save millions of euros in cost but also to achieve its strategic objective of minimizing greenhouse emissions for successfully building a 'Resource Efficient Europe'. In this context, this project explores the potential of reducing emission and pollution through investigating the aspects of interface engineering, self-lubrication, recyclable, and bio-based materials.

As the energy and resource conservation are more than relevant in today’s technological perspective, even with the ever-increasing number of scientific studies for a wide range of ultra-low friction coatings, friction remains one of the key contributors to the tribology related losses today. Solid lubricant coatings provide a greener and energy efficient alternative to the conventional liquid lubricants. Moreover, within the context of friction reduction, relevance of interface optimization has become of a much greater importance. Surface texturing also plays a vital role in minimizing friction by reducing the contact area while texturing of solid lubricant coatings is another interesting domain. These strategies when combined can enable development of tailormade surfaces where the hard coatings can provide necessary resistance to mechanical deformation and surface texture can limit their interaction with the counter surfaces to achieve further lower coefficient of friction.

Another interesting area is utilization of natural fibres as solid lubricants due to their inherently lower environmental footprint. Bio-based materials are another alternative to conventional lubricants since they are bio-degradable, non-toxic and can be manufactured with less green-house gas emissions. With solutions discussed above, there are still many challenges in minimizing resource consumption and reducing emission and great effort is in demand in the level of technique and policy.

Authors: P. Gangwani, J. Shu, A. Naseer, M. Haneef