ARTES 5 Sub-El. 5.1

Price Range

200-500 KEURO


The objective of the activity is to identify 2 European self lubricating materials similar to Duroid and PGM-HT which give high confidence they can withstand long duty ball bearing applications in space (the ultimate target is to demonstrate potential to achieve lifetimes of order 600 million revolutions and confidence that the material might serve applications in the range 20 K to 600 K though these more extreme test conditions will only be explored at bearing level as part of a potential future Phase 2 of the activity if Phase 1 materials demonstrate sufficient promise).

Targeted improvements:

Having European alternatives to US materials (PGM-HT and Duroid) will:

  • Decrease the cost by approximately 50% because the European companies targeted (Ensinger for Austria, Fluorocarbon and Barden for UK) havea large market based mainly on nonspace applications.
  • Improve the manufacturing transparency by 100% because European space projects will have full visibility on the processes.

Two dry lubricants have been used in space, both from the US. The first, Duroid, has been suddenly discontinued. The second, PGM-HT, has experienced quality issues, and might be moved into ITAR. Furthermore, the visibility of the quality and processes of US products is troublesome. For these reasons, a European replacement is being sought to give European companies an independence from US suppliers. Several candidate materials have been identified during a previous activity (TRP Self-Lubricating Polymers based on PTFE- Molybdenum Disulphide-Glass fibres ), which are now proposed for further evaluation, trade-off and subsequent testing at ball bearing level. This activity will provide 2 materials with promising performances. A future ARTES 3.4 activity will then test both materials for long duty applications in vacuum, at extreme temperatures. The proposed activity will consist in:

  1. Material identification and characterisation: 8 materials with mechanical properties similar to Duroid should be selected. Spiral Orbit Tribometer tests, pin-on-disc tests, micro-structure characterisation, density and thermal expansion characterisation.
  2. Ball bearing tests for 10 million revolutions: Based on step 1 results, 4 materials are selected for ball bearing tests. The tests will be performed at ambient temperature in air/ vacuum and dry nitrogen.

Procurement Policy: C(1) = Activity restricted to non-prime contractors (incl. SMEs). For additional information please go to EMITS news "Industrial Policy measures for non-primes, SMEs and R&D entities in ESA programmes".

Tender Specifics