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Tribology International 44 (2011) 11611167

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Tribology International
journal homepage: www.elsevier.com/locate/triboint

Friction and wear properties of Babbitt alloy 16-16-2 under sea


water environment
Hairong Wu a,b, Qinling Bi a,n, Shengyu Zhu a,b, Jun Yang a, Weimin Liu a
a
b

State Key Laboratory of Solid Lubrication, Lanzhou Institute of Chemical Physics, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Tianshui Middle road 18#, Lanzhou 730000, PR China
Graduate University of Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100039, PR China

a r t i c l e i n f o

abstract

Article history:
Received 21 February 2011
Received in revised form
13 April 2011
Accepted 11 May 2011
Available online 20 May 2011

The tribological behaviors of Babbitt alloy 16-16-2 sliding against aluminum bronze ZCuAl9Mn2
lubricated by sea water were systematically investigated in this paper. The results indicated that the
friction coefcient decreased as the load increased to 30 N and then remained at a steady level at high
loads, but decreased with increase in sliding speed. The wear rate increased with load, but decreased
with sliding speed. The formation of basic lead carbonate Pb3(OH)2(CO3)2 during the sliding process
played a critical role in the remaining low friction coefcient in sea water.
& 2011 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

Keywords:
Babbitt alloy
Tribological performance
Wear mechanism
Sea water

1. Introduction
Babbitt alloys are widely used as bearing components. There are
two types of Babbitt alloys, namely tin based and lead based Babbitt
alloy. Babbitt alloys possess many benecial properties such as good
compatibility with steel shafts, ability to embed foreign particles,
ability to adapt to misalignment in the initial run-in period [14],
and antifriction property [5]. The tribological properties of Babbitt
alloys under dry and oil lubrication conditions have been investigated intensively over the past decades [14,615]. However, there
is hardly any investigation carried out on the tribological behavior
under water lubrication, especially under sea water lubrication.
Owing to their wide ranging marine application potential, it
becomes very important to study the tribological properties of
Babbitt alloys in sea water environment. This situation is normally
encountered when tribocomponents come in contact with the
surrounding sea water due to leakage of seals or otherwise.
In this paper, the tribological behaviors of Babbitt alloy 16-162 (designated as B16 hereafter) in sea water were investigated on
a pin-on-disk tester and the corresponding wear mechanisms was
also proposed.

2. Experimental procedures
The friction and wear behavior of B16 against aluminum
bronze (ZCuAl9Mn2, HV 235) was evaluated on a HSR-2M model
n

Corresponding author. Tel.: 86 931 4968193; fax: 86 931 8277088.


E-mail address: qlbi@lzb.ac.cn (Q. Bi).

0301-679X/$ - see front matter & 2011 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
doi:10.1016/j.triboint.2011.05.007

pin-on-disk rig under sea water lubrication. The B16 disk was
24 mm in diameter and 8 mm thick, and the aluminum bronze
pin was 5 mm in diameter and 5 mm long. The chemical compositions of B16 and aluminum bronze were represented in Table 1.
The tests were carried out at 0.0170.083 m/s velocities and 10
120 N loads for 30 min duration. Prior to each test, all the contact
surfaces were abraded with the 500, 1500, and 2000 grit waterabrasive SiC papers, cleaned in an acetone ultrasonic bath for
5 min and dried in hot air. The surface roughness (Ra) of B16 disk
was 0.20.3 mm. The sea water (Table 2) was prepared according
to the standard ASTM 1141-98. The pH value of sea water was
adjusted to 8.2 using 0.1 mol/L NaOH solution. After wear test,
worn surfaces were cleaned in distilled water and acetone
ultrasonic bath for 5 min, and then dried in hot air. The proles
of worn scars were measured using a Micro XAM surface mapping
microscope to determine the wear volume. The friction coefcient
in the gure corresponds to a steady state value. Wear rate was
calculated by dividing the volume loss by sliding distance traveled. An average of three observations was considered in this
study. The worn surface and elemental distribution were analyzed with a JSM-5600LV scanning electron microscope (SEM)
equipped with a KEVEX energy dispersive X-ray spectrometer
(EDS) attachment. Field emission scanning electron microscopy
(FESEM) was performed on a JSM-6701F eld emission scanning
electron microscope. The chemical states of the elements on the
worn surface were characterized using a PHI-5702 multifunctional X-ray photoelectron spectroscope (XPS). The samples
before and after tribological tests were investigated with X-ray
diffractometer (XRD, Philips X pert) using CuKa radiation, in a
reection mode at a scan rate of 11/min.

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H. Wu et al. / Tribology International 44 (2011) 11611167

Table 1
Chemical compositions of B16 white metal disk and aluminum bronze pin (wt%).

Disk
Pin

Pb

Cu

Sn

Fe

Sb

Bi

As

Al

Mn

Si

Zn

balance
0.03

1.502.00
balance

15.0017.00
0.10

0.10
0.50

15.0017.00

0.10

0.30

8.0010.00

1.502.50

0.10

0.01

1.00

Table 2
Chemical compositions of sea water.
Compound

NaCl

MgCl2

Na2SO4

CaCl2

KCl

NaHCO3

KBr

H3BO3

SrCl2

Concentration (g/L)

24.53

5.20

4.09

1.16

0.69

0.20

0.10

0.03

0.02

1.0

20

Sea water, ZCuAl9Mn2

0.8

Wear rate (10-3mm3/m)

Friction coefficient

0.025 m/s
0.6

Sea water, ZCuAl9Mn2

15

0.017 m/s
0.083 m/s

0.4

0.017 m/s
0.025 m/s
10

0.083 m/s

5
0.2

0.0

0
0

20

40

60
80
Load (N)

100

120

20

40

60
80
Load (N)

100

120

Fig. 1. (a) Variations of friction coefcient of B16 with applied load at different sliding speeds and (b) wear rate of B16 with increase in applied load at different sliding speeds.

3. Results and discussion

1.0

3.1. Tribological behavior

0.8
Sea water, 120 N
Friction coefficient

Friction coefcient and wear rate of the B16 alloy as a function


of applied load under different sliding speeds are shown in Fig. 1.
Friction coefcient decreased as the applied load increased to 30 N
and then remained at a steady level at higher applied loads. Also,
the friction coefcient decreased with increase in sliding speed
(Fig. 1(a)). Fig. 2 illustrates representative curves of the evolution of
friction coefcients of B16 at an applied load of 120 N under
different sliding speeds. The friction coefcient did not change with
the sliding time after the initial transient running in time. The
friction coefcient at low speed (0.017 m/s) was the highest and
that at high speed (0.083 m/s) was the lowest. The wear rate
decreased with sliding speed but increase slightly with the applied
load (Fig. 1(b)). The reason for this will be discussed later.

0.017 m/s
0.025 m/s
0.083 m/s

0.6

0.4

0.2

0.0
0

3.2. SEM analysis of worn surfaces


The SEM micrographs of surfaces of B16 under sea water
lubrication are shown in Fig. 3. The worn surfaces at a sliding
speed of 0.017 m/s and corresponding loads of 10 and 120 N are
given in Fig. 3(a) and (b), respectively; while the worn surfaces at
a sliding speed of 0.083 m/s and the loads of 10 and 120 N are
given in Fig. 3(c) and (d), respectively. Plastic deformation with

10

15
20
Sliding time (min)

25

30

Fig. 2. Evolution of friction coefcient of B16 with test duration at a typical


applied load of 120 N and at different sliding speeds.

grooves and akes can be observed on the worn surfaces, which


could be attributed to the large difference of hardness between
the sliding couple. To be more specic, the hardness of B16 is low

H. Wu et al. / Tribology International 44 (2011) 11611167

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Fig. 3. SEM micrographs of worn surface of B16 under sea water lubrication: at the sliding speed of 0.017 m/s and loads of (a) 10 N and (b) 120 N; at the sliding speed of
0.083 m/s and loads of (c) 10 N and (d) 120 N. Plastic deformation with grooves and ake can be observed on the worn surfaces.

(0.19 GPa), but that of aluminum bronze is approximately


2.35 GPa. At the same sliding speed, higher applied load resulted
in severer plastic deformation due to the increased shearing stress
experienced. Permissible stress for B16 is approximately 20 MPa.
At higher load (for instance 120 N), the contact stress will get
close to the permissible stress and local stress may exceed the
yield stress of B16 leading to plastic deformation. And therefore,
the wear rate increased with the applied load.
3.3. Inuence of lubrication medium on the properties of B16
The wear mechanisms B16 sliding in sea water can be mainly
classied into two classes, those dominated primarily by the
mechanical removal of the aluminum bronze pin and corrosion
of sea water. The mechanical removal wear by pin were decrypted
in last paragraph. With respect to sea water, it may have three
effects on the friction pairs; they are lubricating, cooling, and
corrosive effects. The cooling effect of sea water is signicant,
which helps to bring down the surface temperature and hold back
the adhesion transference and plastic deformation of B16 effectively; while the high temperature is the main factor leading to
adhesion and failure to Babbitt bearings [11,16]. In comparison, a
dry sliding of the couple were tested at a sliding speed of 0.083 m/s
and load of 120 N, the sliding surface of B16 disk quickly scratched
a deep groove just in 3 min; Fig. 4 shows the scars of B16 in both
cases. Another inuence is corrosive effect, which also plays an
important role in inuencing the tribological behavior of B16.
As illustrated in Fig. 5, worn surface, with the corrosive products
covered on it, becomes rougher than unworn surface. The porous
surface enables itself to adsorb more sea water and keep adsorbed
sea water therein. As a result, the adsorbed water reduced the
direct contact of the sliding couple. Wear rate is hence reduced.
SEM pictures of the corrosive products at different sliding conditions given in Fig. 6(a)(c) are at the applied load of the 30 N;

Fig. 4. Worn surface of dry sliding in a duration of 3 min (a), and sliding in sea
water lubrication in a duration of 30 min, both at a sliding speed of 0.083 m/s and
applied load of 120 N.

(d)(f) are at the applied load of the 120 N. (a) and (d) are of the
sliding speed of 0.017 m/s, (b) and (e) are of the sliding speed of
0.020 m/s while (c) and (f) are of the sliding speed of 0.083 m/s.
It can be found that higher load and sliding speed promotes the
formation of the corrosive products. Wear test results associated
with the SEM micrographs suggest that the corrosion products may
inuence the wear behavior of B16; the more the corrosion
products on the worn surface are, the lower the corresponding
friction coefcient is. This would probably depend on the nature
and characteristics of the corrosion products.
The SEM micrographs of B16 just immersed in sea water along
with the worn surfaces under sliding in sea water and distilled
water at the sliding speed of 0.083 m/s and load of 120 N are
shown in Fig. 7. The worn surface of sea water lubrication and
surface of B16 immersed in sea water are covered with thin platy
structures, which have dimensions of 25 mm and 50100 nm in
thickness. Most plates are oriented nearly perpendicularly to the
surface but at varying angles to each other. But those structures
can hardly be found on the worn surface of distilled water
lubrication. Subsequently, it can be inferred that the formation

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H. Wu et al. / Tribology International 44 (2011) 11611167

Fig. 5. Porous worn surface under sea water lubrication at the sliding speed of 0.083 m/s and load of 30 N. Corrosive product, which has laminated structure, makes the
surface rougher than the unworn surface.

Fig. 6. SEM morphology of the corrosive products at different sliding conditions, (a)(c) at the applied load of the 30 N; (d)(f) at the applied load of the 120 N. (a) and
(d) are of the sliding speed of 0.017 m/s, (b) and (e) are of the sliding speed of 0.020 m/s while (c) and (f) are of the sliding speed of 0.083 m/s. Higher load and sliding speed
promote the formation of the corrosive products.

of this structure has close relationship with sea water. In order to


understand those structures, XRD and XPS analyses were carried
out in this study.

The SEM analyses suggest that the friction procedure is accompanied by tribo-chemical reaction, which produced Pb3(OH)2(CO3)2.
According to previous studies [17] and characterization results

H. Wu et al. / Tribology International 44 (2011) 11611167

1165

Fig. 7. SEM micrographs: (a) B16 just immersed in sea water for 1.5 h, (b) worn surface of B16 under sea water lubrication at the sliding speed of 0.083 m/s and load of
120 N, (c) worn surface of B16 under distilled water lubrication at the sliding speed of 0.083 m/s and load of 120 N. The corrosion of sea water is obvious; the surface of B16
(a) and (b) is covered with corrosive products.

above, possible chemical reactions occurring on the B16 surfaces are


as follows:
3H2 O 3=2O2 6e-6OH

3Pb-3Pb2 6e

2

2HCO
3 -2CO3 2H

2H 2OH -2H2 O


3Pb2 2CO2
3 2OH -Pb3 OH2 CO3 2

Fig. 8(a) shows the XRD patterns of B16 and that of its worn
surfaces under sea water lubrication at the sliding speed of
0.083 m/s and load of 120 N. It indicates that B16 is composed
of Pb and intermetallic compound SnSb phase. XRD patterns also
demonstrate that a new phase named basic lead carbonate
(mineral name hydrocerussite) was produced during the sliding
process [18,19]. XPS results give the variations of chemical states
of Pb before and after the wear tests, as shown in Fig. 8(b). The
relevant Pb 4f7/2 photoelectron peak for worn surface corresponds to binding energies (BE) between 138.5 and 138.8 eV. It
implies the presence of Pb3(OH)2(CO3)2, which coincides with the
XRD result and previous studies [20,21]. The XPS peaks of Pb4f in
Fig. 8(b) is assigned to Pb3(OH)2(CO3)2. Results of XRD and XPS
conrm the speculation of tribo-chemical reaction.
Wear test results associated with the results of wear surface
characterization suggest that the basic lead carbonate inuences
the wear behavior of B16. In order to know the nature of its
inuence, another wear test was carried out under supersaturated
solution of Pb3(OH)2(CO3)2 lubrication, with linear velocities
ranging from 0.017 to 0.025 m/s, loads from 10 to 120 N, and a
duration of 30 min. Fig. 9 shows the friction coefcient of the B16
alloy as a function of normal load under different sliding speeds.

Compared with sea water lubrication, the friction coefcient in


this case is lower and the noise is weaker.
It may be mentioned that the basic lead carbonate formed
during sliding procedure belongs to trigonal crystal system, which
has laminated structure with a hexagonal lattice. The crystal
structure of basic lead carbonate is given in Fig. 10. The hydrocerussite structure can be viewed as a sequence of two types of
layers stacked along [0 0 1]. Layer A is composed of Pb and CO3,
and layer B is composed of Pb and OH. The stacking sequence is
   BAABAA    [22,23]. It has been reported that Pb3(OH)2(CO3)2
possessed good adhering property and strong self-healing tendency [24]; the unique laminated structure of Pb3(OH)2(CO3)2
makes it express low shearing strength. Both of the two factors
are very important to improve the wear behavior of B16. According to the experimental observation, it is certain that
Pb3(OH)2(CO3)2 is stable under sea water environment and the
low friction coefcient was mainly attributed to its formation.
Meanwhile, as illustrated in Fig. 8(c) and (d), the contact surfaces
of B16 are porous and enable to adsorb and retain sea water
therein, which is another reason to decrease the friction
coefcient.

4. Conclusions
1. The friction coefcients of B16 decreased with increase in load
at low applied loads (1030 N) and then remained at a steady
level at higher loads. The friction coefcient decreased also
with sliding speed. Wear rates increased slightly with increase
in load but decreased with increase in sliding speed.
2. During wear test process, a new phase namely basic lead
carbonate with laminated structure formed because of the
corrosive effect of sea water. Compared with that of sea water
lubrication, the friction coefcient under supersaturated

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H. Wu et al. / Tribology International 44 (2011) 11611167

10000

basic lead carbonate Pb


B16
0.083 m/s, 120 N

8000

18000

B16
0.083 m/s, 120 N

Pb3(OH)2(CO3)2, Pb4f7/2

6000
C (S)

Relative intensity

24000

SnSb

12000

Pb, Pb4f5/2

4000

2000

6000

PbO, Pb4f7/2

0
20

40

60
2 (Degree)

80

0
130

100

135

140
Binding energy (ev)

145

150

Fig. 8. (a) XRD patterns and (b) XPS spectra of Pb4f of B16 and worn surfaces of B16 under sea water lubrication at the sliding speed of 0.083 m/s and load of 120 N, (c) and
(d) FESEM micrographs of particles generated during sliding.

1.0

1.0
ZCuAl9Mn2, 0.025 m/s

ZCuAl9Mn2, 0.017 m/s


0.8
sea water
basic lead carbonate

sea water
Friction coefficient

Friction coefficient

0.8

0.6

0.4

basic lead carbonate


0.6

0.4

0.2

0.2

0.0

0.0
0

20

40

60
80
Load (N)

100

120

20

40

60
80
Load (N)

100

120

Fig. 9. Friction coefcient of B16 with load at different sliding speeds under lubrication of sea water and supersaturated solution of basic lead carbonate at the sliding
speed of: (a) 0.017 m/s and (b) 0.025 m/s. All data was obtained at the duration of 30 min.

H. Wu et al. / Tribology International 44 (2011) 11611167

Fig. 10. Crystal structure of basic lead carbonate, where the red balls represent O
and OH groups, dark gray balls represent Pb atoms and light gray balls represent
C atoms.

solution of basic lead carbonate lubrication was lower and


noise was weaker.
3. The low friction coefcient and wear was mainly attributed to
the formation of basic lead carbonate Pb3(OH)2(CO3)2, which
made surface porous and adsorb more sea water and therefore
reduced the direct contact of the sliding couple. Furthermore,
the unique laminated structure and the good adhering as well
as the self-healing property of Pb3(OH)2(CO3)2 helps to
decrease the friction coefcient and wear.

Acknowledgments
The authors are grateful to the National Natural Science
Foundation of China (51075383) and the National 973 Project
(2007CB607601) for nancial support.
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