IK4-TEKNIKER studies the tribological design, the engineering of materials and surfaces, which allow, with the appropriate interface or lubrication, to work in real conditions (e.g. extremes and controlled environments) with minimum energy expenditure, noise and environmental impact during their life cycle.
The main objective is the understanding of the mechanisms of friction, mechanical wear, chemical wear (corrosion) and the wear-corrosion synergy at different scales (nano-macro), their simulation and modelling using laboratory tests and mathematical calculations. And, in this way, apply it in order to increase the quality of life and durability of the contact surfaces of actual components, studying their compatibility and type of interaction with the environment.
The correct functioning of almost any mechanical system depends on maintaining appropriate levels of friction and wear (mechanical or chemical) in the moving parts. The wear phenomena (e.g. abrasion, adhesion, sub-surface fatigue (pitting) wear-corrosion, fatigue- corrosion, erosion) are direct consequences of the failure to sufficiently consider the tribological design in mechanical components.
Therefore, IK4-TEKNIKER researches the tribology of:
- Advanced lubricants (e.g. biodegradable, ionic liquids)
- Metallic materials and components (e.g. bearings, seals, gears, pistons, piston rings, engine sleeves)
- Tribology of polymeric materials (e.g. seals, elastomers, polymers, composites, floorings...)
- The biotribology
- Tribology of textiles and footwear requiring a multifunctional behaviour (e.g. abrasion resistance and antimicrobial performance)
To characterise the properties of friction, wear and wear-corrosion of materials and lubricants, it is possible to perform standard tests as well as to adapt existing equipment to perform configurations adjusted to specific problems or to develop new test benches according to customer needs. Such equipment is complemented by auxiliary equipment for analysing the wear of components (e.g. confocal microscopes or scanning electron microscopes) and a complete laboratory for analysis of lubricants.