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Measurement and Characterization of “Resonance Friction” at High Sliding Speeds in a Model Automotive Wet Clutch


The friction forces between various lubricated “friction materials” and sapphire disks were measured using a new “high-speed” rotating disk attachment to the surface forces apparatus (SFA). Two different clutch lubricants and two different friction materials were tested at sliding speeds and normal loads from 5 to 25 m/s, and 0.2 to 1 N (nominal pressures ~1 MPa), respectively. The results show that “resonance friction”—characterized by large amplitude oscillatory (i.e., sinusoidal) vibrations, also known as shudder or chatter—dominates dynamical considerations at high sliding speed, replacing the smooth sliding or low-amplitude stick–slip that is characteristic of low speed/low load sliding. The characteristic (rotational) speeds or frequencies at which resonance friction occurs depend only on the coupled/uncoupled mechanical resonance frequencies of the loading and friction-sensing mechanisms. In contrast, the intensity of and time to enter/exit shudder depends strongly on the lubricating oil and, to a lesser extent, on the friction material. Physical–chemical analyses of the friction materials before and after testing showed that the samples undergo primarily structural rather than chemical changes. Our results provide new fundamental insights into the resonance friction phenomenon and suggest means for its control.

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We thank Mark Kornish for technical assistance for the SEM characterization of the friction materials. SEM and XPS were conducted at CNSI (UCSB). The development of the HS-SFA was supported by the Department of Energy under grant DE-FG02-87ER45331. XB, NB, and DDL were supported by the Department of Energy under the same grant. Friction materials and oils were provided by General Motors Co.

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Correspondence to Jacob N. Israelachvili.

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Banquy, X., Lowrey, D.D., Belman, N. et al. Measurement and Characterization of “Resonance Friction” at High Sliding Speeds in a Model Automotive Wet Clutch. Tribol Lett 43, 185–195 (2011).

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  • Clutch lubrication
  • Shudder
  • Chatter
  • Resonance friction
  • Wear