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Why rubber makes a good wear liner

Broadly speaking, there are two methods of combatting wear: the use of very hard materials such as alloys and ceramics or soft elastomeric materials such as rubber and polyurethane.

When two surfaces are working against each other, it is generally expected that the softer material will wear faster than the harder one. Many of the minerals we encounter have a microstructure somewhat harder than the hardest alloys so it comes as no surprise that even the toughest liners eventually wear away.

Extremely hard materials such as some castings and ceramics tend to be brittle and are not always suitable for use in high impact environments. As a general “rule of thumb”, the harder the wear liner, the less resistance to impact it will have.

Softer materials such as rubber work in an entirely different manner to steels, alloys and ceramics.

Rubber has proven to be a highly effective wear resistant lining material in a wide variety of materials handling applications. Rubber liners absorb the energy from the impacting rock by deformation and then repel it away like a spring. Softer materials such as rubber work in an entirely different manner to steels, alloys and ceramics.

The many natural and synthetic compounds have very different physical properties, enabling the use of rubber in applications ranging from fine particle abrasive slurries to heavy impact from run of mine ore.

There are many benefits to rubber wear liners:

•    Rubber can last four to 10 times longer than steel.
•    They are relatively low cost, compared with steel.
•    Rubber liners are much quieter. Noise levels in and around crushing plants can often reach 120 decibels (dBA). It is common for rubber wear liners to reduce noise levels to 85dBA.
•    They protect equipment from impact related vibrations and stress.
•    Rubber liners are lightweight for ease of handling, particularly for promoting occupational health and safety.

Rubber performs best when the angle of impact is either perpendicular (90 degrees) or horizontal to wear surface/sliding wear. The heaviest wear occurs when the impact angle is 10 to 40 degrees from the horizontal.

For those acute impingement angles between 10 and 40 degrees, the use of serrated wash board liners is recommended to change the angle of impact or modify the wear liner for 90 degree impact.

Useful tips for rubber wear liners
Wear accelerates as the speed of material increases. Rubber cannot flex fast enough to absorb the energy of material impacting at six metres per second or faster. Large material will crush the rubber and small material will tear little chunks out of the rubber.

The key to good wear life is speed, therefore it is important to slow the flow and increase wear life. The impingement angle should be modified as close as possible to 90 degrees or sliding, a material roll should be introduced wherever possible and the operator should ensure there is sufficient liner thickness for impact absorbing and wear life.

Typical applications for rubber around crushing plants include feeder hoppers, screen discharge chutes, crusher feed bowls, flexi wall chutes, screen panels, grizzly bars and truck body liners.

Source: Nepean Rubber

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