Enhancing Full-Film Lubrication Performance Via Arbitrary Surface Texture Design

Yong Hoon Lee, Jonathon K. Schuh, Randy H. Ewoldt, James T. Allison

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Minimizing energy loss and improving system load capacity and compactness are important objectives for fluid power systems. Recent studies reveal that microtextured surfaces can reduce friction in full-film lubrication, and that asymmetric textures can reduce friction and increase normal force simultaneously. As an extension of these previous discoveries, we explore how enhanced texture design can maximize these objectives together. We design surface texture using a set of distinct parameterizations, ranging from simple to complex, to improve performance beyond what is possible for previously investigated texture geometries. Here, we consider a rotational tribo-rheometer configuration with a fixed textured bottom disk and a rotating top flat disk with controlled separation gap. To model Newtonian fluid flow, the Reynolds equation is formulated in cylindrical coordinates and solved using a pseudospectral method. Model assumptions include incompressibility, steady flow, constant viscosity, and a small gap height to disk radius ratio. Multi-objective optimization problems are solved using the epsilon-constraint method along with an interior-point (IP) nonlinear programming algorithm. The trade-off between competing objectives is quantified, revealing mechanisms of performance enhancement. Various geometries are explored and optimized, including symmetric and asymmetric circular dimples, and novel arbitrary continuous texture geometries represented using two-dimensional cubic spline interpolation. Shifting from simple dimpled textures to more general texture geometries resulted in significant simultaneous improvement in both performance metrics for full-film lubrication texture design. An important qualitative result is that textures resembling a spiral blade tend to improve performance for rotating contacts.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number053401
JournalJournal of Mechanical Design, Transactions of the ASME
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 1 2017

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Mechanics of Materials
  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Computer Graphics and Computer-Aided Design


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