There are many cases when in large power equipment (such as a turbine or compressor) asymmetrically loading on bearings due to thermal deformations, production inaccuracies, or simple deflection of the shaft occurs. This asymmetrically loading means misalignment of rotor against stator in angle more than several tenths of a degree and it has an influence on a journal and thrust bearings. Over the last few years, thanks to increasingly precise manufacturing, solutions that can eliminate this phenomenon have been revealed. In the case of the thrust bearing, it is a system of very precise manufactured levers, which are in close contact each to other, so they have to be not only properly designed from the geometrical point of view but the important role plays a quality of the functional surfaces of these levers. The article deals with the surface treatment effect on tribological properties of 34CrNiMo6 steel used for the production of bearing levers, which are the critical parts of a newly developing self-equalizing thrust bearing. The samples with cylindrical and plate shapes were produced from 34CrNiMo6 steel as representatives of the most suitable geometries for contact surfaces. All samples were heat-treated. The surfaces of some samples were treated by electroless nickel plating or nitriding, some of the samples were treated by tumbling. Gradually, the surface roughness, microhardness, metallographic analysis and the influence of selected types of surface treatments on the wear for individual samples were evaluated within the research presented in the article. As the testing methods for evaluation of tribological properties were selected Pin-on-disc test and frequency tribological test. The results showed that the best tribological properties achieved samples treated by electroless nickel plating compared with the nitrided or only heat-treated samples.
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