Wear of high aluminium zinc-based alloys in plain bearing applications

  • R.A. Balanza Erquicia

Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Philosophy


Two zinc-based alloys of high aluminium content, Super Cosmal alloy containing 60% Al, 6% Si, 1% Cu, 0.3% Mn and HAZCA alloy containing 60% Al, 8% Si, 2% Cu, 0.06% Mg were produced by sand casting. Foundry characteristics in particular, fluidity, mode of solidification and feeding ability were examined. Metallographic analysis of structures was carried out using optical and scanning electron microscopy and their mechanical properties were determined using standard techniques. Dry wear characteristics were determined using a pin-on-disc test, and boundary-lubricated wear was studied using full bearing tests. Results from casting experiments were evaluated and compared with the behaviour of a standard ZA-27 alloy and those from tribological tests with both ZA-27 alloy and a leaded tin-bronze (SAE660) under the same testing conditions.
The presence of silicon was beneficial, reducing the temperature range of solidification, improving feeding efficiency and reducing gravity segregation of phases. Use of chills and melt degassing was found necessary to achieve soundness and enhanced mechanical properties. Dry wear tests were performed against a steel counterface for sliding speeds of 0.25, 0.5, 1.0 and 2 m/s and for a range of loads up to 15 kgf. The high aluminium alloys showed wear rates as low as those of ZA-27 at speeds of 0.25 and 0.5 m/s for the whole range of applied loads. ZA-27 performed better at higher speeds. The build up of a surface film on the wearing surface of the test pins was found to be responsible for the mild type of wear of the zinc based alloys. The constitution of the surface film was determined as a complex mixture of aluminium, zinc and iron oxides and metallic elements derived from both sliding materials.
For full bearing tests, bushes were machined from sand cast bars and were tested against a steel shaft in the presence of a light spindle oil as the lubricant. Results showed that all zinc based alloys run-in more rapidly than bronze, and that wear in Super Cosmal and HAZCA alloys after prolonged running were similar to those in ZA-27 bearings and significantly smaller than those of the bronze.
Date of AwardApr 1993
Original languageEnglish
SupervisorS. Murphy (Supervisor)


  • high aluminium zinc alloys
  • sand casting
  • dry wear
  • lubricated wear

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