CFD-analysis of hydrodynamic lubrication of textured surfaces

There are countless numbers of lubricated components everywhere in life and an improvement in efficiency would lead to great cost efficiency improvements in many applications. This makes it an area which is subject to a great deal of research. Here, an approach to increase the efficiency in hydrodynamic lubrication is made where the influences from textured surfaces are investigated.

Two parameterized geometry types are used as the textured surfaces. A two dimensional fluid domain containing an upper wall with a tangential velocity and a static lower wall containing a groove of the same order of size as the separation of the walls is used. The fluid mechanics is solved using a Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) method.

The effects of geometrical and physical properties of the fluid domains are studied. With an isothermal flow condition and parallel walls the pressure in the fluid domain remains at the reference value. However, by introducing a textured surface, a net pressure build-up is achieved in the domain introducing a load carrying capacity. The most important contributor to this effect is fluid inertia.

It is seen that a maximum load carrying capacity exists for a certain value of the groove depth. The flow in the groove can be related to a driven cavity flow phenomenon where the beginning of a vortex development is seen near the maximum load carrying capacity.

Author: Sahlin, Fredrik

Source: LuleƄ University of Technology

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