Friction and Wear Micromechanisms of Amorphous Carbon Thin Films

[+] Author and Article Information
B. Wei, K. Komvopoulos

Department of Mechanical Engineering, University of California, Berkeley, CA 94720

J. Tribol 119(4), 823-829 (Oct 01, 1997) (7 pages) doi:10.1115/1.2833892 History: Received November 11, 1994; Revised September 30, 1996; Online January 24, 2008


The friction and wear micromechanisms of amorphous hydrogenated carbon films were investigated experimentally using commercially available thin-film rigid disks with sputtered carbon overcoats and Al2 O3 TiC magnetic recording heads. Continuous sliding tests demonstrated the existence of two distinct friction and wear regimes characterized by different dominant micromechanisms. Scanning electron microscopy and Raman spectroscopy revealed that the evolution of friction in the first regime is due to changes of the surface microtopography and the film structure from amorphous carbon to polycrystalline graphite. Atomic force microscopy showed that the topography changes result from asperity nanofracture leading to the gradual removal of carbon material and the generation of ultrafine wear debris. The friction behavior in the second regime is due to various wear processes arising on the carbon film surface. High friction promotes surface micropitting and the formation of significantly deeper and wider texture marks. The erratic fluctuations of the friction force and microplowing of the carbon film at steady state are attributed to the relatively large wear particles generated by micropitting.

Copyright © 1997 by The American Society of Mechanical Engineers
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