Date of Award


Degree Name

Master of Science


Mechanical Engineering

First Advisor

Filip, Peter


AN ABSTRACT OF THE THESIS OFChristoph Michael Goettler, for the Master of Science degree in Mechanical Engineering, presented on Nov 6, 2020, at Southern Illinois University Carbondale. TITLE: EFFECT OF DENSITY ON FRICTION AND WEAR PERFORMANCE OF CARBON-CARBON COMPOSITE MATERIALSMAJOR PROFESSOR: Dr. Peter FilipCarbon-carbon (C/C) composite materials exhibit high thermal conductivity, high thermal stability, low density, and high mechanical strength. Due to these properties, C/C composites are ideal for use in high performance braking systems. However, C/C composites are incredibly expensive to manufacture, and thus improving the longevity of these materials is vital. C/C composite materials inherently have a density gradient due to manufacturing limitations. By determining the effect of density on friction and wear performance of C/C composite materials, manufacturers could use that data to alter manufacturing methods to improve the lifespan of C/C composites. In this study, the effect of density on friction and wear performance of C/C composite materials was studied. Friction tests were conducted through use of a universal mechanical tester (UMT) manufactured by Bruker and subsequent analysis was done through use of scanning electron microscopy, energy dispersive x-ray spectroscopy, and polarized light microscopy. Numerous samples from depths of 0 mm and 5 mm were taken from two C/C composite materials with varying matrices and friction tested at varying conditions to determine friction properties, friction surface characteristics, microstructure just below the friction surface characteristics, friction layer characteristics, and wear characteristics. Density, apparent density, and apparent porosity gradients were also measured to be able to correlate observations to density differences. It was observed that while density does not seem to be the main cause in differences in friction and wear performance of C/C materials at depths of 0 mm and 5 mm, there still existed significant differences in friction performance, wear performance, and post friction test material characteristics when comparing 0 mm samples to 5 mm samples. In conclusion, density was not found to be a significant cause in variations in friction performance. However, friction surface depth was found to have a significant effect on friction performance, wear performance, and the friction surface. Further research is needed to be able to determine the exact cause of the variations in performance at depths of 0 mm and 5 mm. Keywords: carbon-carbon, composite, C/C, density, friction, wear, brake

Available for download on Friday, August 27, 2021




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