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Micro-Scale Surface Texturing for Friction Reduction Leading to Improved Energy Efficiency


Friction accounts for 40% of the energy loss in an internal combustion engine of a passenger vehicle. Mitigating friction losses can be achieved by modifying a bearing surface with micro-scale surface textures (i.e. dimples). Specially designed surface textures can enhance the lubricating action between bearing interfaces, preventing surface contact. The current study takes an interdisciplinary approach to expand the investigation of surface texturing to journal-bearing applications. Utilizing numerical and experimental methods the texture design is optimized to achieve a 70% decrease in friction at severe operating conditions. Concurrently, a novel machining method for controlled surface texturing is developed that can be readily adopted into existing industrial manufacturing processes. These advancements have established the methodology for optimizing texture design while providing a cost-efficient means of implementing the treatment in an industrial setting. The transfer of this technology has significant potential of broadly improving the energy efficiency of mechanical systems.