A tentative explanation for the tribochemical effects in fretting wear

M. Kalin, J. Vižintin

Wear 250 (2001) 681–689.


In many fretting investigations, tribochemical reactions have been reported to critically determine the wear and friction behavior, however, different and contradictory assessments of the importance of mechanical and thermal effects on these reactions have been suggested. Since fretting is characterized by relatively slow sliding speeds, high temperatures are not generated over the entire nominal contact area. However, evidence for phase transformations, which are typical of high temperatures, have been observed many times in fretting experiments. In other words, there exists a discrepancy between the macroscale and microscale observations. In our previous experimental and theoretical work, the tribochemical transformations of steel and ceramics were extensively investigated and the presence of very high flash contact temperatures under gross slip fretting was confirmed. In this paper we present a tentative explanation of the mechanism for the observed tribochemical changes under selected fretting conditions, which can also explain the discrepancy in the results from macroscale and microscale studies. The proposed wear mechanism considers the tribochemical transformations at the asperity spot-to-spot contacts due to high flash temperatures, while the heat generation and dissipation at apparent contact area remain significantly lower. The observed overall wear transition occurs due to gradual accumulation of the transformed material, which in "closed" fretting contacts remains in great part within the contact.

Keywords: fretting, tribochemistry, phase transformation, temperature

URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/S0043-1648(01)00677-9

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