1998-02-23

Clean and Cost-effective Dry Boundary Lubricants for Aluminum Forming 980453

Preliminary research in our laboratory has demonstrated that boric acid is an effective lubricant with an unusual capacity to reduce the sliding friction (providing friction coefficients as low as 0.02) and wear of metallic and ceramic materials. More recent studies have revealed that water or methanol solutions of boric acid can be used to prepare strongly bonded layers of boric acid on aluminum surfaces. It appears that boric acid molecules have a strong tendency to bond chemically to the naturally oxidized surfaces of aluminum and its alloys and to make these surfaces very slippery. Recent metal-formability tests indicated that the boric acid films applied to aluminum surfaces worked quite well, improving draw scale performance by 58 to 75%. These findings have increased the prospect that boric acid can be formulated and optimized as an effective boundary lubricant and used to solve the friction, galling, and severe wear problems currently encountered in cold-forming of aluminum products. Accordingly, the major goal of this paper is to demonstrate the usefulness and lubrication capacity of thin boric acid films formed on aluminum surfaces by simple dipping or spraying processes and to describe the lubrication mechanisms under typical metal-forming conditions. We will also examine the nature of chemical bonding between boric acid and aluminum surfaces and develop new ways to optimize the performance of boric acid as an effective boundary lubricant.

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