Meuwissen, M., Ruiten, J., Besseling, T., van Sluijs, R. et al., "Lowering Friction in Timing Chain Drive Systems by Tuning Tensioner Materials," SAE Int. J. Fuels Lubr. 10(1):22-33, 2017, doi:10.4271/2017-01-0462.
Fuel economy improvement efforts in engines have focused on reducing parasitic losses. This paper addresses the friction losses in the valve train chain drive system where about half of the losses is caused by the chain sliding on plastic guide and tensioner arm faces (Figure 1). Efforts have been made to reduce these friction losses by optimizing the chain link profile, the geometry of the guide and tensioner arm rails, and developments towards low friction materials.This paper describes the approach taken for the development of new low-friction chain tensioner arm plastic materials. The approach is characterized by building an understanding of the friction mechanisms and identifying the most critical material’s properties. A lab-scale test is used for a first assessment of the friction performance of materials. The correlation between this lab-scale test and the actual chain-on-tensioner arm application is discussed. The effect of a number of key parameters such as temperature, oil viscosity, oil age, and surface roughness is illustrated and explained. Finally, the performance of a new low-friction polyamide 46 based material is demonstrated.