Although the efficiency of a gear pair is currently high, a better understanding of surface/lubricant contribution on efficiency is critical. Electrified drivelines will, for example, impose higher speed and alternate loading, and it is expected that these new conditions will, to a greater extent, rely on the surface/lubricant characteristics. Phenomena taking place in the gear contact is often measured using ball-on-disc and twin-disc tribometers. In this study, these two test set-ups were compared in order to assess differences in the behaviour of surface/lubricant interactions. Results showed that ball-on-disc and twin disc set-ups refect the same friction trends. However, the friction results differed by a factor of roughly two, even though the tribometers were set-up to run at the same contact pressure. The wear mechanisms also differed: micropits occurred on discs used in the twin-disc set-up, whereas normal or no wear was found on the ball-on-disc specimens. The contact conditions for the two test set-ups were also analysed using a numerical model. The comparison of these two machines may aid gear designers in selecting the proper experimental set-up for their purpose.
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