The friction and wear of flexible cables are the main factors that cause electrical breakdown and insulation aging, and they greatly reduce the reliability and safety of robots. In order to enhance the reliability and safety of the robot, it is of great necessity to investigate the friction and wear mechanisms of the flexible cable. In this research, the friction and wear mechanisms have been discussed. The effects of relative speed, ambient temperature, and positive pressure on the flexible cables are considered by an orthogonal frictional movement. The cable friction force has been measured by a piezoelectric sensor with high natural frequency characteristics. The relations among friction and different factors affecting friction have also been discussed. The results show that the relative speed and the ambient temperature are the main factors affecting the friction and wear of the cable; the main form of flexible cable wear is mechanical-force chemical friction and wear. Those discoveries will greatly deepen the understanding of the friction and wear mechanisms of flexible cables, and will be beneficial to robot cable-reliability design.
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