Advanced ceramic materials are used in a wide range of technical applications due to their superior resistance against corrosion and wear. However, under mixed and boundary lubrication, scuffing of the components is hardly to prevent and leads to direct failure. Therefore, as in compressors, gas turbines, and pumps the system reliability is limited by the tribological properties of the ceramic components, the goal is to enhance the system performance by improving the materials. The new approach of adding graphene in ceramics is very promising, since ceramic microstructures can be designed, which possess high toughness (improved reliability) and improved wear resistance at low friction (enhanced lifetime, less power consumption). Furthermore, these microstructures are electrically conductive (efficient sintering and possibility of electrical machining techniques) and can be utilised for monitoring and electrochemical protection devices.
In our research we chose silicon carbide (SiC) as standard material and incorporated different types of (functionalized) graphenes to improve the thermal, mechanical and tribological properties. Pin-on-disc tests were carried out as well as application oriented ring on ring tests in aqueous environments. Additionally, electro-tribological tests were performed to optimise the wear behaviour of the nanocomposite components. These results were correlated with the microstructural properties and the type of graphene, thus providing a comprehensive view on the technical suitability of tribological systems with SiC-ceramic nanocomposites ceramics.