In Phase I we propose to demonstrate the processing of very large area diamond sliding bearings and tribological surfaces. The bearings and surfaces will experience negligible wear and long life in extreme environments, such as encountered in high temperature exploration of Venus. Low temperature bearings that survive conditions encountered in Mars, Moon, Titan, Europe and Ganymede will be also considered. A pressure-assisted fabrication procedure will be developed to produce particle-dispersed and fabric-reinforced composite bearings and coatings. Diamond composite surfaces will consist of crystallites that are toughened with oriented fibers. Long-life diamond composites will be achieved at low cost. In Phase I, we will compare wear and friction properties of sliding interfaces and optimize bearing performance. In Phase II, we will collaborate with a manufacturing company to scale the new processing technology, and with a bearing manufacturer to fabricate prototype bearings for performance testing in extreme environments.
In addition to high performance bearings, potential application include diamond substrates for radiation-resistant electronic equipment, silicon-based circuits and chips.
The diamond tribological surfaces that we plan to develop could be utilized for high speed applications at both low and high temperatures. They are low cost, low friction, corrosive and wear resistant and can work in reciprocating engines, rotary engines, rock drilling, rock sawing and other abrasive environments.