Aircraft landing gear folds into the aircraft undercarriage, so it has lots of pin joints that allow the structure to articulate. Each joint consists of a set of bushes located within the structural parts, with a pin acting as the pivot. The pin is usually made from corrosion resistant steel and the bushes from aluminium bronze. The whole thing is lubricated with grease through greasing pints located near each bush. Greasing is done through a grease nipple, and there are around three hundred greasing points for the thirty or so joints on A320 landing gear. This means that regular greasing is time consuming costly. Replacing the metal bushes with self-lubricating polymer bushes would save the re-greasing effort, but importantly allow substantial weight savings.


The aim of this project is to evaluate the potential for such advanced polymer bearing materials for use as self-lubricating bushes in aircraft landing gear.


The objectives are:

  • To explore what kinds of dry rubbing polymer bearing materials are commercial materials and classify them on the basis of published properties.

  • To evaluate the likely duty the bushes will be subjected to during normal operation.

  • Carry out some basic tribo-meter testing of the materials to establish friction and wear data.

  • Perform some full size pin-bush test runs and investigate life and failure mechanisms.

  • Produce predictive models of likely pin joint life based.

Project Updates:

Team Report Jan 2015