Research

Customized Solutions for Industrial Innovations

Friction Optimized
Devices

Functionalize friction

Wear Reduction
Strategies

Minimize wear

Sustainable
Lubrication

Optimize lubrication

Synaptic
Tribology

Calculate lifetime

As an independent R&D service provider, the Austrian Competence Centre for Tribology AC2T research GmbH (AC²T) develops innovative solutions in the field of tribology, the science of friction and wear.

Tribology is the theory of friction, wear and lubricant application

Main objectives of Tribology

Altough well-aimed tribological measures just prevent from a fraction of these losses, the reachable economies are substancial in the end.

Research Areas

The activities of research area „friction optimized devices“ are focussed on the frictional performance of various devices and processes with special regard to surface characteristics and material properties.

The employed methods comprise numerical multi scale simulations, materials and surface characterization at the nanometre scale, novel diagnostic techniques and advanced tribological characterization methods.

Research topics:

  • Materials, surfaces, and machining processes for friction optimization
  • Efficient and functional bearings, clutches, and brakes
  • Tribology in electrical contacts
  • Friction optimization of sealings and polymers
  • Friction and wear of drivetrain components
  • Simulation of superlubricity for sliding contacts

The properties of interacting surfaces and materials play a crucial role not only in devices with desired low friction, like engines and bearings, but also in high friction applications, like brakes and clutches, as well in various machining and manufacturing processes.

The research area focuses on the detailed understanding and controlling of the wear processes in technically relevant systems. The wear mechanisms and the resulting wear rate are influenced by several parameters, such as loading situation, environmental conditions and the materials operating within the tribological systems. Therefore, special emphasis is set to investigate the impact of thermal and/or chemical environmental conditions on the wear of materials. Wear analyses are performed on a wide range of materials such as metals, ceramics, polymers, and hard coatings.

A detailed understanding of the wear mechanisms is gained by investigating early near-surface damage using advanced analytical tools, to develop a comprehensive understanding of the mechanisms that lead to wear initiation and surface damage.

The experimental investigations on a laboratory scale of the wear mechanisms are designed to reproduce those observed on components under real field conditions and contribute to the development of fundamental knowledge and cost-effective solutions to current industrial challenges. The scientific interpretation of experiments strengthens the theoretical approach and serves as the basis for the formulation of wear algorithms.

A major research goals is the development of robust multi-functional laser claddings and thin films based on first principles design applying ab-initio and molecular dynamics simulations. Additionally, lifetime prediction models are elaborated based on (online) wear monitoring systems for smart factory maintenance concepts, for instance for steel industry.

The vision of the research area “Sustainable Lubrication” is to measure, understand, and to control lubricant as well as fuel behaviour over time.         
Alteration – which comprises all physical-chemical changes of bulk properties and additive surface interactions over time at application conditions – plays here an important role. Consequently, the main research activities can be summarised as follows:

  • In-depth understanding of lubricant and fuel alteration in different scales
  • macro-scale: e. g., sludge, deposits
  • micro-scale: e. g., soot, water droplets colloidal and molecular level: e. g., lubricant oxidation, additive depletion
  • Recommending formulations of lubricants, fuels, and surfaces, also proposing novel technologies, g., ionic liquids, nanoparticles, “green” lubricants, and fuels
  • Designing reliable oil condition monitoring sensor systems based on multi-parameter sensor arrays

Fundamental research in strategic projects makes intense use of high-end analytical methods, which are then implemented in the projects with partners. E. g., an Orbitrap mass spectrometer is successfully applied for the elucidation of lubricant deterioration mechanisms. A small-spot X-ray photoelectron spectro­meter and imaging mass spectrometer are used for the characterisation of the composition of tribochemical reaction layer. Research with the industry is organised in multi-firm projects, exemplarily:

  • Engine oils and fuels – Impact of bio-components and fuel quality on engine performance
  • Industrial lubricants – Alteration mechanisms and oil sensors
  • Sustainable and innovative lubricants – ionic liquids and nanoparticles

“Synaptic Tribology” (in the sense of the Greek word ”συνάπτω”, from the first part “συν” ([sun], “together”) and the second part άπτω ([háptō], “to join”, “to tack”, “to touch”) joins different disciplines and integrates fundamental tribological research – from processes of friction, wear and lubrication to their overall effect on system behaviour – into an active process of developing novel tribodesign measures and predicting their effects on real-life performance.

Here special emphasis is placed on the data evaluation of tribological data, both on-line measurements are used to detect change points in the tribological system (e.g., for failure detection), and secondly artificial intelligence is used to evaluate multidimensional data, like wear images, topographies, chemical spectra, to derive the health-state of the tribosystem. A second focus is the lab-2-field approach: to understand and control a tribosystem in an optimal way, tribological experiments are aided by digital twins, this will result in a hardware-in-the-loop tribometer, capable of mimicking real load conditions of a component with a tribological model test.  

Research topics:

  • On-line measurement of tribological data
  • Change point detection in time series data by advanced statistics
  • Evaluation of multidimensional data by artificial intelligence
  • Lab-2-Field development environment of tribosystems
  • Hardware-in-the-Loop tribometer for realistic component testing

Research Pools

Our activities focus on tribometry, i.e. the design and implementation of tribological experiments, the characterisation and analysis of tribological systems, as well as data analysis, plausibilisation and interpretation of results.

Services:

We perform

  • model experiments, if possible according to standard
  • part and component experiments
  • system tests

at various loads (mN to kN), temperatures (-40 ° C to 1,000 ° C), ambient media (vacuum, helium, N2, corrosive media) and contact conditions (sliding, rolling, etc.) with metallic, ceramic or polymeric materials, optionally coated and / or with structured surface (hammered, blasted, textured, etc.).

Expertise:

  • Design of tribological experiments with the focus on determining the coefficient of friction and wear under defined test conditions
  • Interpretation of the results in cooperation with other pools, e.g., regarding lubricants and additives, friction and wear mechanisms, etc.
  • Preparation, sterile handling and experimental techniques with biologically active test samples

Exzellence:

Preparation, sterile handling and experimental techniques with biologically active test samples

Contact: Dipl.-Ing. (FH) Thomas Lebersorger, MSc

Our activities focus on designing and manufacturing tribometers or experimental laboratory setups, producing mechatronic prototypes, test samples, and test-specific sample holders, as well as carrying out the maintenance, repair and optimisation of devices.

Services:

  • Development, design and assembling of laboratory setups and measurement systems
  • Development and design of sensors for online measurement of lubricant parameters
  • Adaptation of laboratory infrastructure for the extension and optimisation of experiments
  • Training of experimental engineers

Expertise:

  • Years of experience for conceptual design, production, adaptation, commissioning and documentation of tribometers and experimental laboratory setups
  • Knowledge of mechatronic engineering / design (e.g., using Solid Edge, SolidWorks)
  • Know-how on the technical feasibility of measuring tasks and implementation of measuring technology
  • Configuration / commissioning of software for acquisition and control of data acquisition (using our software “Tribosoft”)

Exzellence:

  • Design and realisation of mechanical / dynamic laboratory equipment (tribometers)
  • Design and application of tribology-focused measurement and sensor systems
Contact: Rainer Jahn

Our activities focus on the determination of material-specific physical / chemical / mechanical properties and damage analysis of tribologically loaded solid system elements, preferably those close to the surface.

Services:

  • Determination of material parameters (e.g., structure, hardness, elastic modulus, chemical element and phase distribution, thermal, magnetic and electric properties)
  • Mathematical and statistical methods for the quantitative characterisation of phase ratios and 3D texturing parameters
  • Materialography and damage analysis

Expertise:

  • Pre- and post-test physical analysis of the history of solid samples
  • Competence in the qualitative and quantitative description of solid materials by applying different methods on the macro-, micro- and nano-scale
  • Use of image analysis techniques for analysing microstructures (surface or bulk) or the determination of the geometrical parameters of particle systems
  • Competent in the use of the necessary microscopic methods
  • Competence in the qualitative and quantitative characterisation of composite materials, in particular hard phase and hard particle composites
  • Competence in the kinetics of material reactions at elevated temperatures

Exzellence:

  • Application of mathematical and statistical methods for the quantitative description of multiphase- or multicomponent-materials with special tribological properties
  • Competence in the characterisation of tribologically stressed materials in the near-surface region
Contact: Ing. Markus Premauer

Our activities focus on the development and application of technological processes for the thermochemical / physical as well as geometrical surface or material modification, with the purpose of producing functional tribological surfaces and volumes, as well as evaluating their effect on mineral-abrasive load.

Services:

  • We apply tribological functional materials on metallic substrates
  • We correlate process parameters with microstructural properties, taking into account the physical process conditions
  • We provide process support in the production of multi-phase systems of selected thermochemical and mechanical processes (e.g., powder metallurgy, casting, thermal spraying, surface hammering)
  • We conduct heat treatment processes in various atmospheres
  • We carry out wear tests in abrasive environments (dry, moist, elevated temperature) and evaluate the wear behaviour

Expertise:

  • Plasma transferred arc process
  • Powder metallurgy
  • Thermal spraying
  • Heat treatment
  • Surface finishing processes
  • Knowledge on material forming processes
  • Oxidation and scaling
  • Material knowledge for forming process
  • Wear tests in mineral-abrasive environments

Exzellence:

  • Evaluation of the influence of technology process parameters on the tribological properties of functional materials, particularly wear resistant thick film systems in abrasive environments 
Contact: Dipl.-Ing. Christian Katsich

Our activities focus on the analysis, characterisation and condition monitoring of fresh and in-service lubricants and fuels, both with analytical methods in the laboratory (“Oil Condition Monitoring”), as well as in application (mobile analysers, online analysis). Furthermore, the development and implementation of application-relevant ageing methods for realistic simulation of changes in lubricants and fuels during use.

Services:

  • Chemical analysis including data interpretation
  • Advise of clients and offer on-site services (online and inline analysis)

Expertise:

  • Competence in connection with all matters relating to the concept of “lubricants and fuels”. This includes statements about the current state and the behaviour in use, as well as guidance in the selection and / or the use of lubricants and fuels.
  • Viscometry, spectroscopy, elemental analysis, acid / base content, water content, flash point, interfacial properties, electrical indicators, low-temperature behaviour, residue analysis, corrosion behaviour, ageing and circuits, integrated oil condition analysis, etc.

Exzellence:

  • Identification of changes in the lubricant due to tribological loading
  • Creation of optimisation approaches for increasing lubricant performance
  • Evaluation of the effectiveness of individual components in the overall system “lubricant” 
Contact: Ing. Rainer Franz

Our activities focus on the chemical (nanoscopic) characterisation of lubricant and fuel components, their interaction with tribologically relevant surfaces as well as the material surfaces themselves. Furthermore, the design, synthesis and characterisation of specific substances for application in lubricants.

Services:

  • We provide expertise in chemical qualification and quantification of components relevant at the molecular or atomic level
  • We create / refine methods for the separation, identification and determination of concentration of substances from complex mixtures in the bulk and on surfaces by means of high-end analytical methods
  • We design and synthesise reference compounds, novel base components and additives, as well as molecularly modified surfaces (for tribologically relevant processes)

Expertise:

  • Molecular (nanoscopic) effects of additives and additive groups in lubricants and fuels
  • Chemical mechanisms of dry-lubricated systems
  • Application / development of appropriate analysis tools to explore the mechanisms of action of chemical substances on material surfaces
  • Chemical synthesis

Exzellence:

  • Clear qualitative and quantitative evidence (even in trace amounts) of lubricants and fuel components
  • Identification of the chemical structure of ageing products in lubricant and fuel components
  • Chemically focused surface analysis, characterisation of tribochemical and (tribo-)corrosive layers
  • Development of analytical methods 
  • analytische Methodenentwicklung
  • Molecular analysis in non-aqueous systems
  • Synthesis
Contact: Josef Brenner

Our activities focus on modelling and simulating tribological processes or systems as well as the development of theoretical / mathematical models and their numerical implementation. Furthermore, the preparation of tailor-made data acquisition and tribometer control software, as well as the operation and maintenance of the necessary IT infrastructure.

Services:

  • Theoretically / mathematically modelling of tribological processes and systems on various length and time scales
  • Numerically simulation of models using commercially available or self-developed software
  • Development/implementation of algorithms / routines for data analysis and visualisation
  • Development/implementation of test rig control and data acquisition software

Expertise:

  • Sound basic knowledge in the key fields of tribology relevant for modelling
  • Contact mechanics, materials physics, fluid dynamics, thermodynamics, molecular physics, theoretical condensed matter physics
  • Finite element method, boundary element method, molecular dynamics, ab initio (DFT) methods
  • Many years of experience in the selection and development of numerical algorithms for data analysis and visualisation. Extensive experience in the implementation of test control and data acquisition software (called “TriboSoft”) using LabView

Exzellence:

  • Multi-physics simulations with the FE software COMSOL Multiphysics
  • Contact mechanics of rough surfaces using the boundary element method
  • Molecular dynamics simulation of tribological systems in mixed and boundary lubrication
  • Topography analysis of rough surfaces – wavelet-based multiresolution analysis, differential topography analysis, wear volume calculation
Contact: Dipl.-Ing.(FH) Stefan Krenn, MSc

Our activities focus on the exploration, optimisation, and implementation of tribology-focused methods of measurement and sensor systems as well as their application.

Services:

  • We develop sensors for detecting states and state changes in the tribological contact
  • We carry our online characterisation of tribological systems
  • We perform extended analyses of topographies (for correlation with tribological function)

Expertise:

  • Knowledge of physical measurement methods for the detection of dynamic tribological characteristics (such as friction, wear, temperature, load, speed, surface changes, or accelerations)
  • Experience in sensor selection and implementation (control and evaluation) for tribology-focused quantities
  • Combination of measurements for the diagnosis of the tribological system

Exzellence:

  • Online wear measurement in the micrometre (eddy current and confocal chromatic sensors) to nanometre range (using radio isotopes and particle characterisation methods)
  • Characterisation of surface topographies (white light confocal microscopy, light scattering analysis, time-lapse visualisation)
  • Detection of spontaneous events in the tribo-contact (high-speed visualisation, high-speed temperature measurement, vibration measurement, acoustic wear detection)
  • Measurement of the electrical properties of an electrically loaded tribo-contact
Contact: Ing. Reinhard Grundtner, MSc

The focus of activities is the processing, visualization, and analysis of large amounts of data using methods of modern data science, and the development and software implementation of algorithms to support these activities. This also includes the installation and operation of appropriate hardware and software.

Services:

  • Processing, analysis, and visualization of large amounts of data
  • Development and deployment of algorithms and software in the field of data sciences, machine learning and artificial intelligence
  • Implementation of data-driven design models and tools
  • Development, deployment, and ongoing support for internal technical/scientific software, e.g. for test stand control and measurement data acquisition
  • Development and deployment of, and provision of ongoing support for internal administration software
  • Deployment and operation of a server infrastructure for structured storage of very large heterogeneous data sets, e.g. time series from experiments, spectra, images, videos
  • Deployment and operation of search engines for data and documents
  • Deployment and operation of tools for knowledge management and e-learning
  • Technical and scientific consulting in the field of data sciences, machine learning and artificial intelligence
  • Training in the use of technologies relevant to data science
  • Development and preparation of knowledge for statistical design of experiments

Expertise:

  • Many years of IT experience with the operation of high-performance computers (HPC cluster)
  • Many years of experience in database and software development
  • Expert knowledge in the field of information technology
  • Technical and scientific expertise in the field of scientific computing
  • Many years of experience in the selection, implementation, and application of algorithms for numerical data analysis and visualization
  • Profound knowledge of the software tools Python and R
  • Expertise in the relevant mathematical / statistical methods

Exzellence:

  • Scientific Computing, Data Analysis and Visualization with Python and R
  • High-Performance Computing
  • Software development with different programming languages and tools
  • Interdisciplinary team with background knowledge from the parent disciplines of tribology (mechanical engineering, physics, chemistry, …), mathematics and information technology
Contact: Dipl.-Ing. Dr.techn. Georg Vorlaufer

Our activities focus on central interdisciplinary decision-making and control to ensure optimal interaction between the research areas and to design the strategic direction of the centre of excellence.

Services:

  • We make decisions regarding research collaborations, R&D project proposals and internal project assignments, etc.
  • We control the scientific progress of the projects and approve the scientific project documentation for reporting to funding bodies, international advisory board, etc.
  • Management of our annual reviewing process with international peers
  • Coordination and management of the internal scientific knowledge transfer

Expertise:

  • Knowledge about the framework and the requirements to control a centre of excellence for tribology
  • Holistic knowledge about tribology-focussed R&D projects 
Contact: Dipl.-Ing. Dr. Nicole Dörr & Dr. mont. Ewald Badisch

Research Locations

Technology and Research Center Wiener Neustadt 

Viktor-Kaplan-Straße 2/C, 2700 Wiener Neustadt, Austria

The headquarter of the Center or Competence for Tribology (AC²T) is located in the Technology and Research Center Wiener Neustadt (TFZ) since October 2002. In the course of time, the premises were continuously expanded. Since 2012, these comprise about 4,000 m² and can accommodate about 130 employees.

The AC²T partner company “Aerospace and Advanced Composites GmbH (AAC)”, which especially offers materials-oriented R&D services in the aviation and aerospace sector, is located at TFZ with about 25 employees, since 2012.

TECHCENTER Linz-Winterhafen

Hafenstraße 47-51, 4020 Linz, Austria

Because of the intensification of the co-operations with companies in Oberösterreich, the first decentralized research location, approximately 100 m² of office and laboratory space, were put into operation at TECHCENTER Linz in 2015. Three researchers are currently working in Linz; in the medium term, it is planned to expand the research location to about 10 researchers, thereby further optimizing the local R&D service in Oberösterreich and the surrounding region.

Our Research Site Leader Dr. Martin Jech will be the first contact for you.

20 years of experience in tribology

Customized Solutions for Industrial Innovations