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 services provider, we develop innovative solutions in the area of tribology, the study of friction, wear and lubricant application.

Main objectives of tribology:

Although only a fraction of the above-mentioned losses can be avoided using targeted tribological measures, due to the scale of these losses, in absolute terms, the savings that can be achieved are substantial.

Research Areas

At the centre of this area of research is the tribological behaviour of various devices and processes with particular emphasis on surface quality and material properties.

The methods applied include numerical simulations across multiple size scales, materials and surface characterisation at the nanometre level, innovative measuring procedures and advanced tribological characterisation methods.

Research topics:

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

The properties of the interacting surfaces and materials play a crucial role not just in systems with a desired low level of friction, such as engines and bearings, but also in applications with high friction, like brakes and clutches, as well as in various machining and production processes.

The focus of this research area is on understanding and controlling wear mechanisms in technical systems. The nature and extent of the wear is significantly influenced by various parameters, such as the load situation, environmental conditions and materials used. When analysing and evaluating the tribotechnical system behaviour, the mechanical stress and thermal and chemical environmental conditions are taken into account. Analyses are carried out on different groups of materials, e.g. metals, ceramics, plastics and thin films.

Using high-resolution analytical techniques, premature damage to surfaces and areas near to surfaces of components subject to tribological wear is investigated, in order to obtain a basic understanding of the wear mechanisms.

The experimental simulation of the wear mechanisms, which is carried out on a laboratory scale, makes it possible to develop an understanding of the failure procedure and to subsequently derive corrective measures for practical application. Theoretical approaches are substantiated by the scientific interpretation of the experiments, and form the foundation for the creation of wear algorithms.

One important research objective is the development of robust multifunctional laser cladding and thin films on the basis of principles-based design concepts such as ab initio and molecular dynamics calculations. Based on (online) wear monitoring, lifespan prediction models are developed for intelligent maintenance concepts for plant maintenance (e.g. in steel production).

Research topics:

  • Development of robust multifunctional laser cladding and thin films
  • Wear protection and monitoring in plant maintenance
  • Wear and corrosion in oilfield applications
  • Tribology in wheel/rail contact
  • Additive production processes for wear protection

The vision of this research area is to measure, understand and influence, in a manner specific to the application, the temporal behaviour of lubricants and fuel. Here, the ageing process – which encompasses all temporal physical and chemical changes to the bulk properties and additive surface interactions during application – plays a pivotal role.

Research Topics:

  • Understanding lubricant and fuel deterioration at the macro, micro and molecular levels
  • Influence of lubricant and fuel formulations (including innovative technologies based on, for example, ionic liquids, nanoparticles, organic raw materials) and of interacting surfaces on performance capacity
  • Design of reliable sensor systems for oil condition analysis based on multi-parameter sensor arrays

In the scope of the research, analytical methods are designed and applied in the high-end area. For example, an Orbitrap mass spectrometer is successfully used for the identification of ageing products and mechanisms. The composition of tribochemical reaction layers is identified using small spot X-ray photoelectron spectrometry and the imaging mass spectrometer.

This research area combines basic tribological research – from fundamental processes to friction, wear and lubrication all the way to general system behaviour – with an active development process for new tribodesign measures and the prediction of their effect on performance capacity in real-life applications.

Special emphasis is placed on the analysis of the tribological data: online measurements serve to detect changes in tribological systems (e.g. for the early detection of errors); artificial intelligence algorithms are used to analyse multidimensional data sets (such as wear patterns, topography data or chemical arrays) and to get a picture of the performance status of the tribosystem. With the “Lab-2-Field” approach, i.e. the transferral of laboratory findings to the real-life system, tribological experiments are supported using “digital twins”. In the final development stage, the aim is for this to lead to a hardware-in-the-loop tribometer that is capable of depicting load situations from the real-life application in situ, readjusting these in the tribological model experiment and anticipating the further behaviour in advance.

Research Topics:

  • Online measurement of tribological data
  • Detection of changes in time series data using advanced statistical methods
  • Analysis of multidimensional data using artificial intelligence methods
  • Elaboration of digital twins for the Lab-2-Field approach in tribology
  • Development of hardware-in-the-loop tribometers

Research Pools

The focus of activity is on tribometry, i.e. the design/conceptualisation and implementation of tribological experiments, the characterisation and analysis of tribosystems, as well as data evaluation, verification of the plausibility of results and interpretation of results.

Services:

  • Implementation of model tests, in compliance with standards where required,
  • Component tests,
  • System tests

with different 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 polymer materials, where required also coated and/or with a structured surface (shot preening, abrasive blasting, textured, etc.).

Expertise:

  • Interpretation of tribological experiments with a focus on determining the friction coefficient and wear for defined test conditions
  • Interpretation of the results in cooperation with other pools, e.g. regarding lubricant and additives, friction and wear mechanisms, etc.
  • Preparation, sterile manipulation and implementation of tests with biologically active test samples

Excellence:

  • Scaling of tribosystems: comparability of model test vs. component test

The focus of the activity is on the construction and production of tribometers and experimental laboratory set-ups; the manufacture of mechatronic prototypes; the production of test samples and test-specific test sample carriers; the performance of maintenance, repair and optimisation of equipment.

Services:

  • Planning, mechatronic construction and commissioning of laboratory set-ups and measuring systems (including the coordination and documentation in the context of the “devices under construction” numbers)
  • Preparation of device-specific documentation (circuit diagrams, measuring technology and sensors used, instructions)
  • Expansion and maintenance of the existing laboratory set-ups (tribometers and other test apparatus) as well as the laboratory infrastructure
  • Maintenance and improvement of the operational capability of the tribometers and various test facilities
  • Development and construction of sensor technology for the online measurement of lubricant parameters
  • Technical support for scientific employees and technicians in implementing and conducting the experiments
  • Adaptation of the laboratory infrastructure for the expansion and optimisation of the experiments
  • Training for the technicians conducting the tests in the event of changes to devices or new devices that are developed internally and put into operation
  • Sample production and preparation

Expertise:

  • Many years of experience in designing, manufacturing, adapting, commissioning and documenting new tribometers and experimental laboratory set-ups
  • Knowledge regarding mechatronic construction/design (e.g. using Solid Edge, SolidWorks)
  • Implementation of measuring technology
  • Configuration/commissioning of software for recording and controlling the acquisition of measurement data (use of the software “Tribosoft”)
  • Preparation of test samples based on the requirements of the experiments
  • Know-how on the technical feasibility of measuring tasks

Excellence:

  • Design and implementation of mechanical/dynamic laboratory equipment (tribometers)
  • Design and application of tribology-focused measuring technology and sensor systems

This area focuses on determining materials-specific physical/chemical/mechanical properties and the damage analysis of fixed system elements subject to tribological stress, primarily in the area near to the surface.

Services:

  • Identification of material parameters (e.g. structure, hardness, elastic modulus, chemical element and phase distribution, thermal, magnetic and electrical properties)
  • Application of mathematical-statistical methods for the quantitative characterisation of phase relationships and 3D texturing parameters
  • Materialography and damage analysis

Expertise:

  • Pre and post-test physical analysis of the history of solid samples
  • Competence regarding how to carry out a target preparation
  • Competence in the qualitative and quantitative description of solid materials by applying different methods at the macro, micro and nano scale
  • Application of image analysis methods for the analysis of structures (related to surface and volume) and identification of geometric parameters in particle systems
  • Competence regarding the application of the necessary microscopic methods
  • Competence in the qualitative and quantitative characterisation of composite materials, in particular hard phase and hard particle composite materials
  • Competence in the identification of wear mechanisms
  • Competence regarding the kinetics of material reactions at high temperatures

Excellence:

  • Application of mathematical-statistical methods for the quantitative description of multi-phase and multi-component materials, in particular particle systems, with special tribological properties
  • Competence in the characterisation of materials subject to tribological stress in the area near the surface

The focus of activity is on the development and application of technological processes for thermochemical/physical and geometric surface and material modification, with the purpose of manufacturing tribologically functional surfaces and volumes as well as evaluating their effect when exposed to mineral-abrasive stress

Services:

  • Application of tribological functional materials to metallic substrates
  • Correlation of process parameters with microstructural properties, taking the physical process conditions into consideration
  • Process monitoring for the creation of multi-phase systems for selected thermochemical and mechanical processes (casting, shot preening)
  • Implementation of heat treatment processes in different atmospheres
  • Configuring the roughness of tribological surfaces
  • Execution of wear tests in an abrasive environment (dry, damp, increased temperature) and assessment of the wear behaviour
  • Mechanical determination of layer properties e.g. standardised adhesive tensile strength test for TS layers

Expertise:

  • Plasma transferred arc process
  • Powder metallurgy
  • Thermal spraying
  • Heat treatments
  • Surface finishing processes
  • Solidification processes
  • Oxidising and scaling
  • Materials expertise regarding forming
  • Wear tests in a mineral-abrasive environment

Excellence:

  • Evaluation of the influence of technology process parameters on tribological properties of functional materials, in particular wear-resistant thick-film systems in an abrasive environment

The focus of activity here is on the analysis, characterisation and condition monitoring of fresh and in-service lubricants and fuels, using both analytical methods in the laboratory (“oil condition monitoring”) as well as in practice (mobile analytical devices, online analytics); moreover, the development and implementation of application-relevant ageing methods for the realistic simulation of changes to the lubricants and fuels during application.

Services:

  • Quality analytics with corresponding interpretation of the data, customer advice and on-site services (online and inline analytics)
  • Provision and operation of the laboratory and auxiliary room facilities necessary for this purpose, the utilisation of method-relevant findings from projects and the long-term preservation of the core competences via ongoing training of the pool employees
  • Purchase, storage and disposal of hazardous substances
  • Point of contact for application opportunities of the data management system LIMS

Expertise:

  • Competence in connection with all issues related to the concept of “lubricants and fuels”. This includes, among other things, statements regarding the current condition and the behaviour when applied in practice as well as advice in selecting and/or using lubricants and fuels.
  • Viscometry, spectroscopy, element analysis, acid/alkali content, water content, flashpoint, interface properties, electrical values, low-temperature behaviour, residue analyses, corrosion behaviour, ageing and cycles, integrated oil condition analytics
  • Quality and environmental management system according to ISO 9001:2008 and ISO 14001:2009

Excellence:

  • Identification of changes to lubricant due to tribological stress
  • Creation of optimisation approaches to increase lubricant performance
  • Assessment of the effectiveness of individual components in the lubricant system as a whole

The activity focuses on the chemical (nanoscopic) characterisation of lubricant and fuel components, their interaction with tribologically relevant surfaces, and the material surfaces themselves; furthermore, it also addresses the design, synthesis and characterisation of special substances for their use in lubricants

Services:

  • Provision of competence in the chemical qualification and quantification of relevant components at a molecular and atomic level
  • Creation/refinement of methods for separating, identifying and determining the concentration of substances made of complex mixes in bulk and on surfaces, using high-end analytical methods
  • Design and synthesis of reference substances, novel basic components and additives, in addition to molecularly modified surfaces (for tribologically relevant processes)

Expertise:

  • Molecular (nanoscopic) effect of additives and additive groups in lubricants and fuels
  • Chemical action mechanisms of dry lubrication systems
  • Application/development of suitable analytics to research corresponding action mechanisms of chemical substances on material surfaces
  • Chemical synthesis
  • Qualification and quantification of chemical components with a high dynamic range

Excellence:

  • Clear qualitative and quantitative evidence (even in traces) of lubricant and fuel components
  • Identification of the chemical structure of ageing products in lubricant and fuel components
  • Chemistry-focused surface analytics
  • Characterisation of tribochemical and (tribo)corrosive layers
  • Analytical method development
  • Molecular analysis in non-aqueous systems
  • Synthesis

The focus of the activity is on the modelling and simulation of tribological processes and systems, as well as the development of theoretical/mathematical models and their numerical implementation. Furthermore, the creation of customised software (e.g. databases, LIMS etc.), measuring/control software (LabView), in addition to the operation and supervision of the AC²T IT infrastructure (hardware and software).

Services:

  • Theoretical/mathematical modelling of tribological processes and systems at various size scales
  • Numerical simulation of models using software available on the market or developed in-house
  • Development/implementation of algorithms/routines for data evaluation and visualisation
  • Development/implementation of test bench control software and data collection software
  • Development/implementation of in-house simulation programmes for special tasks
  • Administration of the AC²T IT infrastructure (file server, workplace PC, web service)
  • Provision of software for various areas (e.g. LIMS, BMD utilities, …)

Expertise:

  • In-depth fundamental knowledge in the specialist areas relevant for modelling in tribology
  • Contact mechanics, materials physics, fluid dynamics, thermodynamics, molecular physics, theoretical solid-state physics
  • In-depth knowledge of the methods relevant for the numerical simulation
  • Finite element method, boundary element method, molecular dynamics, ab initio (DFT) methods
  • Expert knowledge in the field of information technology
  • High performance computing clusters, heterogeneous network (Windows & Linux server & workstations), software programming, database applications (LIMS)
  • Many years of experience in the selection and development of numerical algorithms for data evaluation and visualisation
  • Many years of experience in the implementation of test bench control software and data collection software using LabView (“TriboSoft” software)
  • Know-how in the operation of relevant, market-standard software products such as COMSOL Multiphysics or MATLAB

Excellence:

  • Multiphysics simulations with the FE software COMSOL Multiphysics
  • Contact mechanics of rough surfaces using the boundary element method
  • Molecular dynamic simulation of tribological systems in the field of mixed and boundary friction
  • Topography analysis of rough surfaces – wavelet-based multi-resolution analysis, differential topography analysis
  • Wear volume calculation

The activities in this area focus on the research, optimisation and implementation of tribology-focused measuring methods and sensor systems and their application

Services:

  • Development of sensors to record the status and changes in status in tribological contact
  • Online characterisation of tribological systems
  • Extended analysis of the topography (for correlation with the tribological function)

Expertise:

  • Knowledge of physical measuring methods for the recording of dynamic tribological parameters (such as friction, wear, temperature, load, speed, surface changes, accelerations, etc.)
  • Experience in the selection and implementation of sensors (activation and evaluation) for tribology-focused measurement variables
  • Linking of measurement results for the diagnosis of the tribosystem

Excellence:

  • Online wear measurement in the micrometre (eddy current and chromatic confocal sensors) to the nanometre range (using RIC and particle characterisation methods)
  • Characterisation of the surface topography (white light confocal microscopy, scattered light analysis, time lapse visualisation)
  • Detection of spontaneous events in tribocontact (high-speed visualisation, high-speed temperature measurement, vibration measurements, acoustic wear detection)
  • Recording the electrical properties of tribocontact subject to electrical load

The focus of the activity is on the processing, visualisation and analysis of large volumes of data using methods of modern data science as well as the development and software implementation of algorithms to support these activities. This also includes the installation and operation of corresponding hardware and software

Services:

  • Processing, analysis and visualisation of large volumes of data
  • Development and provision of algorithms and software in the areas of data science, machine learning and artificial intelligence
  • Implementation of data-driven dimensioning models and tools
  • Development, provision and ongoing support for internal technical/scientific software, e.g. for test bench control and measurement data acquisition
  • Development, provision and ongoing support for internal administration software
  • Provision and operation of a server infrastructure for the structured storage of very large heterogeneous data volumes, e.g. time series from experiments, spectra, images, videos
  • Provision and operation of search engines for data and documents
  • Provision and operation of tools for knowledge management and e-learning
  • Technical scientific advice in the areas of data science, machine learning and artificial intelligence
  • Training in the use of technologies relevant for data science
  • Development and provision of knowledge regarding statistical experiment design

Expertise:

  • Many years of IT experience in the operation of high-performance computers (HPC clusters)
  • Many years of experience in the area of database and software development
  • Expert knowledge in the field of information technology
  • Technical 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 visualisation
  • In-depth knowledge of the software tools Python and R, which are relevant for data science
  • Expert knowledge on the relevant mathematical / statistical methods

Excellence:

  • Scientific computing, data analysis and visualisation using Python and R
  • High performance computing
  • Software development using various programming languages and tools
  • Interdisciplinary team with background knowledge on the contributing disciplines of tribology (mechanical engineering, physics, chemistry, …), mathematics and information technology

The focus of the activities is the central interdisciplinary decision-making and control, with the aim of ensuring optimum interaction between the research areas and shaping the strategic orientation of AC²T

Services:

  • Decision-making regarding, for example, research collaborations, R&D project proposals and internal project assignment
  • Decision-making regarding the investments suggested by the heads of pools
  • Formation of opinions on the staffing requests suggested by the heads of pools
  • Summary/approval of the scientific project documentation for reports to funding bodies, annual report, investment deduction, etc.
  • Coordination and management of internal scientific meetings (e.g. jour fixe, etc.)
  • Decision-making regarding publication planning and participation in conferences
  • Control of the scientific project progress
  • Operative opinion-forming process in cooperation with the heads of pools and the project leaders

Expertise:

  • Knowledge regarding a competence centre’s framework conditions and need for control
  • Comprehensive knowledge on the R&D projects

Research Locations

Technology and Research Center Wiener Neustadt 

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

Since its foundation in October 2002, the main location has been established at the Technology and Research Centre Wiener Neustadt. Over time, the company premises have undergone continuous expansion. At present, the premises comprise around 4,000 m² and offer space for up to approx. 160 employees.

As of 2012, the AC²T partner company “Aerospace and Advanced Composites GmbH”, which specialises in materials-oriented R&D services in the aerospace sector, also has its headquarters at the same location, with around 25 employees.

TECHCENTER Linz-Winterhafen

Hafenstraße 47-51, 4020 Linz, Austria

In 2015, the research location at the TECH CENTRE Linz was launched as a decentralised location for the purpose of optimising the on-site R&D services in Upper Austria (and the surrounding area). The office and laboratory spaces, which cover roughly 150 m², provide space for up to around 10 researchers.

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

You can find more information here: Research location Linz

20 years of experience in tribology

Customized Solutions for Industrial Innovations