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The University of Southampton

Research project: Prolonging the life of machine parts in nuclear applications

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Wear modelling of Diamond-Like Carbon (DLC) coatings

Wear track of DLC coating

The next generation of nuclear power plants will be expected to operate for longer durations and to higher safety standards. As a result, increased efforts are needed to understand and improve the tribology in nuclear applications. Conventional lubrication is not an option in water-based systems, so thin-film coatings such as DLC films are being investigated. These films offer the potential to reduce friction and wear, and exhibit extremely long lifetimes. The interfacial chemistry governs much of the behaviour of a DLC film, and is affected strongly by the environment. Further study to better understand the intricate mechanisms of these films is of crucial importance to industry.


Analytical wear models

Through a combination of physical and computational experiments, the goal of this project is to firstly gain a better understanding of the attractive tribological properties of DLC coatings and, secondly, to formulate predictive multiphysics mathematical/computational models capable of capturing the chemo-mechanics of the growth of a transfer film layer and of predicting the wear behaviour of DLC films in water.

Associated research themes

Bioengineering and human factors

Related research groups

national Centre for Advanced Tribology at Southampton (nCATS)
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