Tribochemical Study of Micropitting in Tribocorrosive Lubricated Contacts: The Influence of Water and Relative Humidity
Water ingress into the lubricant as a contaminant affects performance leading to an alteration in wear, corrosion and fatigue behaviour of the tribological components especially in the rolling element bearings. The current study addresses the tribochemical phenomena involved in micropitting in tribocorrosion systems where different levels of dissolved-water are present in a model lubricant. In this study the effect of different temperatures, water concentrations and relative humidities have been investigated on micropitting under rolling-sliding contacts. The influence of free and dissolved water on tribocorrosive micropitting is clarified. The tribochemical change of the reaction films is studied using X-ray Photoelectron Spectroscopy (XPS) which confirmed that the (poly)phosphate chain length and tribofilm thickness are reduced with increased dissolved water level.