Those in industry who work with metals, metal components, and metal machinery, and are familiar with the frustration of machine and component failure due to the galling of metallic surfaces, will appreciate a solution to this problem through a practice known as “babbitting.”
Babbitting refers to the coating of a metal surface, casting, or bearing with a Babbitt metal; which is essentially a different material from that which is being coated. A Babbitt or Babbitt metal is one of any number of metal alloys used to protect from the galling of metallic surfaces.
Galling refers to a type of severe abrasive wear on metallic surfaces; an abrasion that can occur between at the interface of two contacting rubbing or sliding metal materials. It is, in effect, a microscopic transfer of material between metallic surfaces. Galling is also sometimes referred to as cold welding. It can take place between surfaces like bearings and casings that are under sufficient load and in motion with friction to cause the transfer of metallic material, thereby leading to metal component failure.
Some of the principal factors that can affect galling include the properties of the metallic materials (such as surface hardness and microstructure), the applied load, the contact area and degree and intensity of movement, the duration of contact, and even the environment and design of the materials.
Galling can cause the premature failure of components, thus leading to lost time, shutdowns, and a need for maintenance and repairs, which in turn results in additional, unwanted costs. This becomes particularly import when dealing with large investment castings such as those used in mining and steel making. The difficulties associated with galling will be dependent on the specific scenario as to how and where the galling occurs and babbitting provides a solution.
The purpose of babbitting is to protect metallic bearing surfaces through the use of a sacrificial layer of babbitt thereby extending the lifespan of the base metal and preventing any unnecessary metal bearing or component failure. Babbitting is of high value for the prevention of galling, and the process can be used for a wide range of metal components across virtually all industries that have a need to protect and ensure the lifespan and reliability of metal bearings and castings.
Businesses and industries that would like to learn more about the methods and benefits of babbitting, as well as Babbitt bearing repair services, are encouraged to contact Canada Metal North America. Canada Metal North America is an industry leader in the supply of metal products and customized solutions to industries in commercial marine, oil and gas, plumbing, plating, hospital/medical, aerospace, nuclear, and defense.