A tribotester with an integrated load sensor based on a strain gauge is typically used to measure the friction coefficient generated by the contact-related sliding motion of two objects. Since the friction coefficient is obtained by dividing the measured friction force by the applied normal force, the normal and friction forces must be measured for accurate analysis. In this study, a tribotester was used to measure the displacement of a cantilever tip using the fiberoptic sensor in a non-contact method. The friction coefficient measurement using the fiberoptic sensor was proven to be valid by calibrating the tip displacement due to normal/friction forces after designing a basic structural cantilever tip based on experiments and simulation analyses. The results obtained by using the fiberoptic sensor-cantilever tip-based tribotester were compared with those obtained using commercial and/or custom-built tribotesters under the same conditions. By designing various shapes of cantilever tips and using simulation analysis, the calibrations of the normal/friction forces and tip displacement could be verified and the coupling effect was evaluated. The performance and reliability of the fiberoptic sensor-cantilever tip-based tribotester, which can be used to determine the normal/friction forces by non-contact displacement measurements without a strain gauge, were verified.
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