Effects of Ambient Gases on Friction and Interfacial Resistance

[+] Author and Article Information
Y.-J. Chang, D. Kuhlmann-Wilsdorf

Department of Materials Science, University of Virginia, Charlottesville, VA 22901

J. Tribol 110(3), 508-515 (Jul 01, 1988) (8 pages) doi:10.1115/1.3261660 History: Received March 25, 1987; Online October 29, 2009


As is well known, ambient atmospheres can greatly affect the friction and wear behavior of metals sliding on each other, as well as the electric contact resistance between the metals. In order to better understand the mechanisms of those effects of ambient atmospheres, the coefficient of friction and the electric contact resistance have been studied for bundles of 50 micrometer thick copper wires, sliding on a polished copper surface in a specialized apparatus, called the hoop apparatus. The ambient gas was cycled between laboratory air and carbon dioxide, and between laboratory air and argon, respectively. The results indicate a reversible build-up and removal of surface films whose nature as well as speed of formation and removal depends on the gas present. Fiber bundles are used in order to eliminate the constriction resistance, so that the contact resistance is directly proportional to the specific film resistivity. The following properties were found to be affected by the ambient gases. (i) The average level of the contact resistance. (ii) The amplitude of the electric “noise.” (iii) The coefficient of friction. (iv) The difference between the static and the dynamic coefficients of friction in stick-slip motion. The results were found to be consistent with previous measurements in which the mechanism of forming wear particles was deduced from a wear chip analysis. Correspondingly they were interpreted in terms of the same wear model. This led to a further advance in the understanding of the interfacial processes accompanying sliding in this sample/substrate combination.

Copyright © 1988 by ASME
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