Development of a design method for friction-reducing microstructures on dynamic elastomer seals with wear resistant coatings

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The sealing of shaft interfaces in machine housings against oil leakage requires both a dynamic sealing during operation and a static sealing at zero speed. These requirements are met by radial shaft seals, hence they are used millions of times in technical systems. However, with increasing speeds they cause significant friction losses, which lead to a reduction in efficiency and expose the elastomer to high thermal loads. In addition, current developments in the e-mobility sector regarding high-speed powertrain concepts are already pushing sealing technology to its performance limits. Therefore, friction reduction offers a chance to extend the current performance limits and increase efficiency within existing applications.


Research objectives

The aim of this research project was the reduction of friction losses of dynamic elastomer seals using a radial shaft seal as an example. For this purpose, the functionalization of the sealing lip by means of hydrodynamically effective microstructuring and wear resistant plasmapolymeric coating was investigated.

  • Verification of friction reduction by means of surface functionalization on elastomer specimens
  • Investigation of the structural and wear behaviour of the microstructures and the plasmapolymeric coating
  • Simulation-based design and optimization of the microstructured sealing sliding surface using computational fluid dynamics simulations
  • Investigation of the friction and leakage behaviour of functionalized seal specimens
  • Development of a procedure for the efficient design of microstructured dynamic elastomer seals with wear resistant coatings

Read more in the final report


Research and project partners

  • Fraunhofer Institut für Fertigungstechnik und Angewandte Materialforschung (IFAM)
  • AQcomputare GmbH
  • Automotive Nordwest e.V.
  • Bundesanstalt für Materialforschung und -prüfung
  • Bruss Sealing Systems GmbH
  • Fluor Technik System GmbH
  • Induflex Coating Systems GmbH
  • KAUTASIT – Gummitechnik GmbH
  • Prelon Dichtsystem GmbH
  • Pulsar Photonics GmbH

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Promoted by

The research project (IGF No. 19194 N) was funded via the AiF within the Industrial Collec-tive Research (IGF) by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy based on a resolution of the German Bundestag. The responsible AiF research association is the German Rubber Society (DKG).

Federal Ministry of Economic Affairs and Climate Action

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Project sponsor

German Rubber Society

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