Presentation of a new lubrication system developed by PolymerExpert at ESMAT 2019

PolymerExpert will participate in the 18th biannual congress on European space mechanisms and tribology in Munich, Germany. ESMAT will be held at the Gasteig Cultural and Conference Centre of Munich from 18 to 20 September 2019 . This event will welcome space mechanism professionals and space industry leaders from around the world.
Presentation of a new lubrication system developed by PolymerExpert at ESMAT 2019

What is ESMAT?

Organized jointly by OHB and ESA, this conference aims to bring together the actors of the space community: designers and engineers of space mechanisms, scientists, equipment manufacturers, suppliers of facilities and services and project managers, thus enabling numerous technical and scientific exchanges.

More than 250 people are expected to attend this tailor-made event. Indeed, during ESMAT, participants will be able to attend:

  • Training courses on spatial tribology, advanced mechanism design and spatial mechanisms
  • An exhibition space: Anne Pagnoux, R&D Director of PolymerExpert will be present on the CNES booth (Booth 7)
  • Scientific presentations of the latest advances in research: Eric Lutz, R&D Project Manager, will give a presentation on Friday, September 20 at 11:40 am.

Many topics will be discussed during these three days:

  • Design, analysis, manufacturing, assembly, integration and testing of mechanisms
  • Components/Equipment, Micro/nano devices
  • Tribology and materials
  • Launch vehicles
  • In-orbit performance and post-flight investigations
  • Scientific observatories, terrestrial remote sensing and planetary exploration mechanisms
  • Space platforms, lashing cables, space vehicle retraction mechanisms

This congress will allow PolymerExpert to promote its discoveries in the field of space.

ORAL presentation of PolymerExpert at ESMAT

At ESMAT, Eric Lutz, PhD in polymer chemistry, R&D project manager at PolymerExpert will present new homogeneous gel oils for the lubrication of space mechanisms.

Below is an introduction to his presentation:

“Space lubricants must perform correctly throughout the life of the mechanism without any outside intervention.  It is therefore important to ensure their presence and regeneration in contacts till the end of the mission.  For this reason, the use of pure oil is tricky because their random migration can lead to the loss of lubricant, to lubricant starvation and thus to failure of the lubricated contacts. To avoid these problems, greases are preferred for space applications because they stay close to the contacts and act as reservoirs; they gradually release the oil to replenish the contact. All available space greases are suspensions of particles in oils with some advantages and drawbacks due to this particular structure…

In previous works presented in ESMATS 2017 [1], we observed that all space greases  may generate high torque peaks when used in ball bearings at low rotation speeds. This phenomenon is due to the grease composition and structure.

Indeed, all space greases are bi-phasic and based on small particles in suspension in base oils. At low rotation speed, particles accumulation at the contact entrance generates sudden increases of torque when these clusters enter into the contact [1] [2]. Such torque peaks could be easily avoided by using pure oils but with the risk to face the loss of the lubricant from the contact due to creeping. Thus, as greases are really necessary to insure lubrication of space mechanisms, CNES and POLYMER Expert, developed new processes to thicken oils and to propose new grease-like products but which are not  suspension in oil. These new products present some additional benefits comparing to the existing one.”

  1. Magali Busquet, Mathieu Renouf, David Leveque, Yves Berthier, Nathalie Bouscharain, Jacques Sicre (2017). ESMATS Space grease tribological behavior for reformulation : Numerical and experimental investigations
  2. Stevens K.T. The torque behavior of greaselubricated angular contact bearings operating at low speeds. ESA(ESTL)46.

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