In numerous friction and wear applications, the use of polymers and polymer composites has become state of the art. Nevertheless, further developments are still under way to explore new fields of application for these materials and to tailor their properties under more extreme loading conditions. This presentation describes how to design polymeric composites in order to operate under low friction and low wear against various counterparts. Particular emphasis is focused on special fillers (including spherical nanoparticles), often in combination with classical tribo-fillers (such as carbon fibers, graphite flakes, polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE) particles), for the tribological improvement of thermoplastics and thermosets. The various positive synergistic effects of nanoparticles that can take place during the sliding wear process between polymer composites reinforced with conventional fillers and metallic counterparts are discussed in detail. Finally, a set of practical examples particularly demonstrates how these different fillers act in concert. The industrial applications include polymer – metal bushings in Diesel fuel injection pumps of the automotive industry, electrically conductive multifunctional polymer bearings, microcapsule filled epoxy based composites for lubrication and self healing under trobological loadings, additive manufacturing of tribo-components, and high temperature resistant coatings for automotive engine pistons, bushings, and anti-sticking molds in plastic processing industries.
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