Brush plating of bearing alloys on aluminium alloy shells
The turbocharging of diesel engines has led to increase in temperature, load and corrosive attack of plain bearings. To meet these requirements, overlay plated aluminium alloys are now preferred. Currently, lead-tin alloys are deposited using a zincate layer and nickel strike, as intermediate stages in the process. The nickel has undesirable seizure characteristics and the zincate can given rise to corrosion problems. Consequently, brush plating allows the possible elimination of these stages and a decrease in process together with greater automation. The effect of mode application, on the formation of zincate films, using film growth weight measurements, potential-time studies, peel adhesion testing and Scanning Electron Microscopy was studied, for both SIC and AS15 aluminium alloys. The direct plating of aluminium was also successfully achieved. The results obtained indicate that generally, although lower adhesion resulted when a brush technique was used, satisfactory adhesion for fatigue testing was achieved. Both lead-tin and tin-cobalt overlays were examined and a study of the parameters governing brush plating were carried out using various electrolytes. An experimentally developed small scale rig, was used to produce overlay plated bearings that were fatigue tested until failure. The bearings were then examined and an analysis of the failure mechanisms undertaken. The results indicated that both alloy systems are of the regular codeposition type. Tin-cobalt overlays were superior to conventional lead-tin overlays and remained in good condition, although the lining (substrate) failed. Brush plated lead-tin was unsatisfactory. Sufficient understanding has now been gained, to enable a larger scale automated plant to be produced. This will allow a further study of the technique to be carried out, on equipment that more closely resembles that of a full scale production process.