On microscopic mechanisms of friction and wear

D. E. Kim, N. P. Suh

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

54 Citations (Scopus)


Under normal sliding conditions encountered in engineering applications, the frictional force is generated by plowing of surfaces by wear particles, asperity deformation and adhesion. Of these three basic contributing factors, the plowing of the surfaces by wear particles is found to be the most important in most sliding situations. Careful experiments are attempted to eliminate the mechanical effects of friction in order to measure only the inherent friction due to adhesive forces between two sliding surfaces. However, it has been found that it is extremely difficult to eliminate microstructural changes caused by mechanical interactions at the microscopic scale. Experimental results obtained using extremely smooth silicon and sapphire surfaces are described to support the claim that permanent damages are present in most friction tests, which may ultimately contribute to the formation of wear debris, particles, and sheets. A plausible model for a microscopic friction and wear process is presented.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)199-208
Number of pages10
Issue number1-2
Publication statusPublished - 1991 Sep 30

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Mechanics of Materials
  • Surfaces and Interfaces
  • Surfaces, Coatings and Films
  • Materials Chemistry

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