Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Presentation Summaries from IJTC 2012

We're looking to provide some more information post-conference for those who attended the 2012 IJTC. To that end, if you're a presenter and would like to provide an executive summary of your presentation, or you attended a session(s) that you'd like to write about, just let us know. Below you will find two presentations that were given by STLE member, Chad Chichester.

Not All Silicone Fluids are Created Equally

Silicone fluids have been used for decades as lubricants in severe duty applications.  Their extremely high viscosity indices and high onset oxidation temperatures, perform well in applications in extreme environments and conditions, specifically where operating temperatures are very low and/or very high.  However, silicone lubricants often fall under scrutiny and are incorrectly criticized for having lower load carrying capacities, resulting in higher equipment wear rates.  This assertion is not necessarily accurate for all silicone fluids used in lubricant formulations.

This presentation provided an initial overview of basic silicone molecular structure, including pendent structures of dimethyl siloxane, phenylmethyl siloxane, and trifluoropropyl siloxane, as well as alkyl and alkoxy end group structures. Lubrication characteristics of dimethyl, phenyl methyl, and trifluoropropyl silicone fluids used as lubricants were discussed and compared to some organic base fluids.  Lubricant test results, like viscosity index, SRV, and 4-ball wear scar comparing various silicone fluids to organic fluids were also shared.  Furthermore, test results from newly synthesized silicones were provided showing improved load carrying and wear properties.  This information supports the statement that not all silicone fluids are created equally, and that some may provide as good, or in some cases superior lubricant performance compared to existing organic lubricating fluids.

Reliability and Maintainability of Wind Machines Through Proper Lubrication

Generally speaking, large wind energy applications combine low (rotor) speeds and high (generator) speeds for geared turbines, as well as high loads.  Wind equipment is expected to operate for twenty years in remote locations, under extreme environmental conditions (wind, sun, rain) that lead to high and low temperatures, and humidity.  These challenges translate to difficult maintainability and ultimately unsatisfactory reliability.

This presentation explored benchmark results used in developing unique solid lubricant packages used in lubricant grease and anti-seize paste formulations.  These solid lubricants contribute to reduced wear and friction and decreased equipment failure (ex. main rotor bearing wear, pitch bearing riffeling, and threaded connector seizure and galling).  To conclude, an executive summary of Department of Energy Award Project DE-EE0001364, which focused on alternative lubricating fluid chemistries intended to be used as “lifetime” wind turbine gearbox lubricants was presented.  The intended outcome is to provide the audience with the knowledge to apply the aforementioned lubricant technologies, with the aim of improving reliability and maintainability to better optimize utilization of wind machines.

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