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Answers to Questions about Surface Engineering and Chemical Conditioning applied to metals with Trib-Tools™ known as Trib-Surf™, Trib-Grip™ and Dry-Prime™.

This is a relatively new process and many new applications are still under development. The following questions are typical of those frequently asked.

Is this a new way of coating a surface?

This is a new way of treating a surface but not coating it per se. This method does not provide an actual coating over a surface but instead incorporates organic material into a surface. There is sufficient new material worked into the surface to substantially change its chemical character, but it does not completely lose its original character as would be the case with a coating where the original surface is fully covered by a new layer. The Trib-Conditioned surface still remains essentially metallic but it has a large number of organic sites capable of beneficially changing the surface behaviour such as wetting and chemical bonding. We believe this provides a novel and  highly superior way of priming a surface. It actually allows many conventional primers to work better therefore it can act as a pre-primer treatment!

How long does the conditioning last?

Our evidence is that the conditioning lasts indefinitely, but that condensation and adsorption of atmospheric gases, moisture, oil or dirt tends to mask the affect. It is largely restored by a stiff wipe with a dry clean paper towel. Washing the surface does not remove the conditioning providing it does not attack the organic conditioner. A mild soapy solution is very beneficial.

Is this a potential method of Dry Lubrication?

Probably not. The conditioning does not strengthen or thicken the natural oxide layer - it may actually thin it marginally. Our process incorporates organic material into the surface and thereby changes its nature, it does not provide a layer over the oxide as most lubricants do. Our process would be expected to offer very little benefit over the boundary lubrication performance of natural dry oxide. Neither can it help in maintaining separation of rubbing surfaces and thereby resist frictional wear effects like micro welding and shearing. It may however be beneficial in that it could be designed to improve the wetting and retention of a lubricant to the surface which would then attach to the surface more tenaciously and would therefore perform its function more effectively.

Does the surface conditioning influence corrosion?

Yes corrosion can be significantly reduced by selecting appropriate conditioning materials.

How long do the Trib-Tools and Dry-Prime Tools last?

The tool life is primarily determined by the life of the abrasive substrate. The effectiveness of the tool declines slowly as the abrasive looses its edge. Thus the life of a tool is typically that of a typical coated nylon abrasive or what ever abrasive substrate is used.

Can a wire brush or wire wool be used as an excoriation tool?

Yes - any tool that is capable of gently removing the surface oxide by scraping will work. Obviously the amount of pressure applied needs to be progressively reduced so that newly attached material is not immediately scraped off. In practice this does not appear to happen, therefore it is assumed the conditioning material attaches rather more tenaciously than any new oxide.

Can the process be scaled up to condition rolls of Mill Steel?

Yes - although it has not been implemented yet, early trials directed towards improving cold rolled sheet finish quality suggest this process can be beneficially combined with present dry brushing that clean the steel of residual carbonised roll lubricants. The chemicals can be chosen to impart very superior wetting and thus potentially reducing the thickness of any subsequent coating needed to guarantee cover.

Can the process be automated by the continuous feed of conditioning chemicals through a tool?

Potentially yes - although it has not yet been done.

Can the friction enhancing Trib-Grip be used to make Trib-joins?

Yes in principle there is no reason why not, although it has not been done on a repetitive basis. It has been used to secure bearings under conditions where a dry fit and adhesive retention failed.

Does the adhesion enhancement work for all types of adhesive?

During development the most significant improvement was seen on epoxy, where it was observed that the actual keying strength to the surface may be increased by 100% over a dry abraded surface - which was the suppliers recommended method. This was shown in peel tests. But, by using a different chemical it was possible also to treat the surface so there was zero adhesion with epoxy. Other adhesives tested were urethane, cyanoacrylate and methacrylate based. All showed a small improvement of typically 30%. This small improvement was attributed to improved wetting alone. It seems likely, but it has not yet been proven that it will be possible to optimise the process for each adhesive chemical system. In theory it should be possible also to increase the frictional coupling of nylon coatings and the frictional coupling of nylon gears to steel shafts - but as yet this has not been done.

Does the Dry Prime idea work for Paint?

In theory yes - but it remains to be demonstrated. The chemistry of paints vary a great deal and while in the light of the epoxy adhesive results it is reasonable to expect it to work well for epoxy paint it would be unsafe to claim we can improve adhesion on all paint systems. Our early tests showed that our surface treatments improved some primer actions for automobile body repair, but this was not exhaustive. Further work is planned in this area.

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The TribTech name derives from  "tribos" - Greek for 'rubbing'. 'TribTech' is a trade name used by Ball Burnishing Machine Tools Ltd. Registered Office 12 Brookmans Av. Hatfield, Herts. AL9 7QJ. United Kingdom;  Company Reg. No. 1408807, VAT Reg. No. 421 6210 04; a knowledge based company that develops, patents and licenses technology based on aspects of  tribology, the science of surfaces. All rights reserved by Ball Burnishing Machine Tools Ltd. Last modified: 29th Sept 2016 copyright 1999/2016. The information and data provided herein should be considered generally representative for the tools and technologies described. In all cases users should carefully evaluate the tools and technologies to determine their suitability for a particular purpose. Be aware this site uses cookies, your continued use implies you accept these.