Quality and degradation assessments of polymer-lined thrust bearings by indentation and tribological testing
Current needs for renewable and emission-free technologies imposes hydroelectric power plants to generate power in a predictable and reliable fashion. Replacing metallic to polymeric coatings in thrust bearings allows hydroelectric turbines to operate at a wider range of operation parameters. However, the sensibility of polymeric materials to the manufacturing method imposes important uncertainties on the performance and longevity these materials can have in service conditions. In this project lab-bench tests will be used to critically evaluate the results of portable non-destructive tools that can be used to assess the quality of polymeric coatings used in thrust bearings. High-pressure and high-temperature immersion tests will force the material into an accelerated aging process. The effects of aging on the polymer performance will be tested into an environment simulating the turbine operation conditions. The research outcomes will enable Hydro-QuÃ©bec to determine whether a polymer lining is suitable for continuous operation or not.