Half a croissant, on a plate, with a sign in front of it saying '50c'
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Vibration lubrication machine

Clamp it on and enjoy!
  [vote for,

While reading about stochastic resonance I read a link describing how the engineers in WWII realized that some of their bomb targeting apparati worked better in the plane than on the ground. The vibrations of the plane served to lubricate the moving parts. I have been unable to find that story again or I would have linked it up.

It seems to me that this principle could be used for any machine with large moving parts. It would be especially suitable for those which are difficult to lubricate or intolerant of physical lubricants.

The VLM would be a small box that would produce vibration. It would be bolted or clamped securely to the machine in question and turned on. The idea would be to reduce friction / decrease wear. A dial could be used to adjust the degree of vibration although I am not sure how you could determine the ideal.

One could test this idea with a massager/vibrator or other such readymade machine and another machine that was squeaky and in need of grease. Application of the vibrator should reduce the squeaks. I assert that as I type this I have a straight face.

One could more precisely test this as a science project using a wheel with a fixed amount of friction that was being turned by a fixed amount of energy. On applying the vibration, does the amount of energy required to turn the wheel decrease? Can one maximize this effect by adjusting the amplitude of the vibrations?

For a high school science project, one might want to disguise the vibrator to some degree.

bungston, Mar 22 2007


       [+], but I have some reservations. I agree that it ought to have much the same effect as lubrication. It will be breaking static friction in the plane parallel to the plane of vibration; it will also tend to transiently open gaps between components, intermittently eliminating friction.   

       However, I don't think it will reduce wear - quite the opposite. Two surfaces in contact will be sliding to and fro very rapidly (with a smooth but smaller net motion in one direction or the other). The result will be increased abrasion.   

       Try sliding something across the working face of an electric sander: it will glide effortlessly, but the erosion will be far greater than if you'd slid it (against greater resistance) across a stationary abrasive surface.
MaxwellBuchanan, Mar 22 2007

       IIRC, the early jet airplanes had to have instrument-panel shakers installed to make sure the dials hadn't stuck.   

       But, repeated vibration can wear flat spots in bearings. (Shipping automobiles by train is really not good for the car's internal workings.)
baconbrain, Mar 22 2007


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