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Abrasive wear behavior of PTFE for seal applications under abrasive-atmosphere sliding condition

  • Mingxue Shen
  • Bo Li
  • Zhinan ZhangEmail author
  • Longzhi Zhao
  • Guangyao XiongEmail author
Open Access
Research Article


Abrasive wear is a common failure phenomenon that often limits the service life of sealing elements. Evaluation and comparison of the abrasion resistance of polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE) were conducted using Al2O3 particles with sizes in the range 5 to 200 µm on a pin-on-flat tribo-tester under dry reciprocating sliding conditions at room temperature. Based on the examined worn surface characteristics of both PTFE and 316L stainless steel (as a counterpart) and the analyzed coefficient of friction (COF) evolutions, the wear mechanism and particle size effect have been explored in detail. The results demonstrate that the abrasive size is the main contributing factor, which can drastically impact the wear mechanism and tribological properties of tribo-pairs. The COF exhibits different evolution characteristics (trends) for different abrasive sizes. For moderate particle sizes, the COF trends become more complicated and the most evident wear of the metallic counterpart is evident. The activity behaviors of abrasives are dominated by the particle size. Particles can becomes embedded in one of the tribo-pair materials to plough-cut the counterpart, thus causing two-body abrasive wear. The abrasives can also behave as free rolling bodies, which play the role of third body to realize three-body “PTFE-abrasive-316L” abrasion. When abrasives are involved in the wear process, both the wear rate and COF of the metallic counterpart increase, but the material removal rate of the PTFE is reduced. The results obtained can offer guidelines regarding the design and protection of seals.


PTFE seals three-body abrasion wear mechanism abrasive particle size 



This work was supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (Nos. 51775503 and 51875343), the Natural Science Foundation of Zhejiang Province (No. LY17E050020), the China Postdoctoral Science Foundation (Nos. 2017M620152 and 2018T110392), and Jiangxi Natural Science Foundation of China (20171BCD40009).


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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Mechanical EngineeringShanghai Jiao Tong UniversityShanghaiChina
  2. 2.College of Materials Science & EngineeringEast China Jiaotong UniversityNanchangChina

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