Sliding wear and corrosion resistance of copper-based overhead catenary for traction systems

C.T. Kwok, P.K. Wong, Hau Chung Man, F.T. Cheng

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic research


In the present study, the electrical sliding wear and corrosion resistance of pure copper (Cu) and six age-hardened copper alloys (CuCr, CuZr, CuCrZr, CuNiSiCr, CuBe and CuBeNi) were investigated by a pin-on-disc tribometer and electrochemical measurement. Various copper-based alloys in the form of cylindrical pin were forced to slide against a counterface stainless steel disc in air under unlubricated condition at a sliding velocity of 31 km/h under normal load up to 20 N with and without electric current. The worn surface of and wear debris from the specimens were studied by scanning electron microscopy. Both mechanical wear and electrical arc erosion were the wear mechanisms for the alloys worn at 50 A. Owing to its good electrical conductivity, high wear and corrosion resistance, CuCrZr is a promising candidate as the overhead catenary material for electric traction systems.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)19-27
Number of pages9
JournalInternational journal of railway
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2010


  • Electrical sliding wear
  • Corrosion
  • Overhead catenary materials
  • Electric traction systems

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