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Wear 190 (1995) 155-161

Advances in tribology: the materials point of view

H. Czichos, D. Klaffke, E. Santner, M. Woydt
Federal Institute for Materials Research and Testing (BAM), Berlin, Germany

Received 9 January 1995; accepted 25 April 1995

Abstract The application of advanced materials in various areas of contemporary technology can lead to improvements in the function, quality and performance of engineering components and systems. In this paper, an overview of the developments in high performance materials, both organic and inorganic based, is given. This includes thin hard coatings because of their increasing importance in tribological improvements. For these types of materials the requirements for tribo-engineering applications are analysed. Research results from BAM concerning ceramics and ceramic composites, polymers and polymer composites as well as hard coatings illustrate the friction and wear behaviour of these materials and their potential for tribo-engineering applications.

Tribology; Advanced Materials; Ceramics; Polymers; Coatings

1. Introduction
The key role of materials ments in future technological develop-

has been recognized in all industrialized countries in recent years. The driving forces behind the development of advanced materials are various technological, social, and environmental requirements [ 11, for example: improved performance, integrity and reliability of engineering systems; higher durability of products; higher efficiency, lower-energy consuming engines; lightweight, high-strength structures; miniaturization of components; increased productivity. Further improvement in conventional materials and the development of new materials may also lead to improvements in triboengineering applications. However, it must be kept in mind, that in triboengineering applications materialsrelated influences must be seen in a broader context because these materials are components of tribological systems [ 21. These, in general, comprise four structural parts, i.e. an interacting materials pair, a lubricant and the environmental atmosphere. Depending on the type of tribological system (e.g. bearing, brake, wheel/rail, cam/tappet, piston/cylinder, workpieceltool, etc.) and the operating conditions (load FN, speed U, temperature T, operating duration l, sliding distance s) various friction and wear processes may occur. It is known that the influence of materials on the behaviour of tribological systems is most pronounced in unlubricated, i.e.
0043-1648/95/$09.50 0 1995 Elsevier Science S.A. All rights reserved SSDIOO43-1648(95)06678-O

dry operating conditions (solid friction and wear), therefore this paper is restricted to these conditions. It is now generally recognized that materials suitable for unlubricated tribological applications should fulfil the following criteria: wear volume wear coefficient = load X sliding distance


10e6 mm3 N-


friction coefficient = frlzz:l f=2<0.2



wear coefficient and friction coefficient should not depend on the operating conditions (especially velocity and temperature) .

Overview on advanced materials Although the term advanced materials cannot be defined precisely, a broad interpretation, may include the following substances: materials with a new composition or microstructure: ?? inhomogeneous ?? amorphous 0 nanocrystalline materials providing novel applications through improved development and processing:


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Table 1 Properties of metallic, polymeric Material Steel Cast iron Aluminium

and ceramic materials 6 (kg dm- ) I.&l.9 7.lL7.4 2.662.9 3.9 5.6 3.2 3.2 1.01-1.14 1.3 2.1-2.3 0.92 E ( GPa) 210 64-181 60.80 210-380 140-210 170 450 2-I 3-5 0.4 0.2 40-80 100-300 15-25 14-18 R, (N mm-*) 440-930 140490 300-700 K, (MN m--3 2) 50-214 6-20 2345 3-5 8-10 4-7 4.5 3 HV 100-900 100-850 25-140 1400-1900 1200 1600-1800 2500 80-100 12 13 A (W m- K- ) 30-60 30-60 121-237 25-35 2 25-50 90-125 0.25-0.35 0.37-0.52 0.25 0.33-0.57


Aluminium oxide Zirconium oxide Silicon nitride Silicon carbide Polyamide (PA) Polyimide (PI) Polytetrafluoroethylene Polyethylene (PE-HD)



S density; E elastic modulus; R, tensile strength; K, fracture toughness;

?? synthesis ?? design

HV Vickers hardness; A thermal conductivity

0 production (incl. assembly and joining) 3. materials with improved properties: 0 structural properties mechanical thermal ?? functional properties electrical magnetic optical biological 0 performance properties complex behaviour (incl. tribology, corrosion) environment compatibility (incl. recycling, disposition) quality, safety, reliability Within this broad scope, with respect to mechanical engineering and tribo-engineering applications, materials with improved structural and performance behaviour are of special interest [ 31.

3. General requirements tribological applications

on advanced materials for

Materials for tribological applications originate from all basic classes of substances including metals, ceramics and polymers and their composites [ 41. Materials from the various classes may differ considerably in their engineering propTable 2 Tribological


in relation to material types F ,m~ymer < Fm.m,,s < Fmma~ Ppolymer<Pmetal <Pcmmics Tmetal < T,+,,, < T,,,,,,,, Adwrymer < Ad,,,,, < Ad,,,,,,,, Ab ceram,cS < Ab,,,,, < Abporymer R pdymur R c.x2JnlCS < Rm,,,,

Mass forces Hertzian pressures Friction-induced temperature increase Adhesion energy (surface tension) Abrasion Tribochemical reactivity

erties as can be seen from Table 1 [ 51. Metallic materials are characterized by high values of tensile strength, fracture toughness and thermal conductivity. Outstanding properties of ceramics are high elastic moduli and hardness which decrease only slightly with increasing temperature; while their detrimental property is the low fracture toughness. A positive aspect for polymers is the low density, but a negative factor is the low thermal durability. Friction and wear are not directly correlated with the properties of the bulk material because of the system s dependence on the tribological behaviour. However, materials-related aspects may influence the tribological behaviour considerably, see Table 2. Ceramic materials are beneficial when compared with metals (like steels) in respect to their lower mass forces, better abrasion resistance and their tribochemical behaviour. Less positive aspects of ceramics include higher modulus-dependent contact pressures, the shift of the Hertzian shear stress maximum from the bulk to the surface and the high frictioninduced temperature increase because of the relatively low thermal conductivity of oxidic ceramics. The low fracture toughness may also lead to the spontaneous formation of wear particles under impulse loading. Polymeric materials are beneficial when compared with metals in respect to their low interfacial adhesion energy, for example PTFE, PE, leading to low friction values. However lower Hertzian contact pressures may not be beneficial for these materials as they are a consequence of viscoelastic and plastic deformations which start already at low loads. Thin coatings have the advantage to of customising tribological material properties yet they leave the bulk properties of triboelements unchanged which have been optimized by technical practice. After this general comparison of materials properties relevant to tribology, selected research results from BAM in the main classes of advanced materials-ceramics, polymers and their composites as well as coatings-are presented in this paper.

H. Czichos et al. / Wear 190 (1995) 155-161


4. Tribology of advanced materials-research from BAM 4.1. Ceramics and ceramic composites


T = 22 C

: rel.



It is well known that the final application oriented characterization of the tribological behaviour of materials can only be made in field tests. However, an overview on the ranking of different materials types and the orders of magnitude of friction and wear data can be determined utilizing model tests. The tribological behaviour of oxide ceramics (aluminium oxide, zirconium oxide) and non-oxide ceramics (silicon carbide, silicon nitride) was investigated systematically under conditions of dry sliding at temperatures between 22 C and 1000 C with laboratory test configurations [ 61. The compilation in Fig. 1 shows that in most cases the friction coefficient is higher thanf=0.5 in this broad temperature range. At room temperature and low sliding velocity friction values of about f = 0.2 tof= 0.1 can be obtained for A1,03/A1,0, and ZrOJZrO, sliding pairs. This is possibly due to adsorbed water molecules. For special newly developed ceramic composites, i.e. Sic-Tic and S&N,-BN sliding pairs, much lower friction values can be observed in Fig. 2 when compared with the former named ceramics as well as with monolithic non-oxide alumina or zirconia ceramics, see Fig. 2 [ 71. It should be possible to achieve a value off= 0.1 for dry ceramic sliding pairs through further material developments. In addition to the friction data, wear values for sliding pairs of ceramic materials are compiled in Fig. 3. It can be seen that the wear data of all sliding pairs are higher than k = lop6 mm3 N- m- which is considered a limit for practical applications as discussed above. On the other hand it should be mentioned that for Al,03/A1203 and ZQ/ZrO, sliding pairs under conditions of room temperature and low sliding velocities (u = 0.03 m s- i) very low wear coefficient in the range of k= lOPa mm3 N- m- can be obtained, which may be suitable for some tribological applications. This beneficial behaviour is obviously due to adsorbed water molecules.



V h/S)

S&N,-BN and SiC-

Fig. 2. Sliding friction data of new ceramic composites, Tic.

3 m/s

Self meted F,,=10 N

: v-

couples laboratory



400 Ambient

BOO temperetur

1000 T /?j

Fig. 3. Sliding wear data of ceramic materials.

1 .B .6


Self FM-j0

mated N


couples m/s

: =3



c ; g

6 t e E .4 2 c .2 0
Ambient temperatur T [Cl


1.Sliding friction data of ceramic materials

Similarly as in the case of friction, wear may be considerably reduced for composites which contain titanium in a ceramic matrix [ 81. For example, the wear coefficient of Sic-Tic/Sic-Tic sliding pairs (with 50 wt.% TIC) can be reduced by a factor of 5 at room temperature and by a factor of 10 at 400 C when compared with plain SiC/SiC pairs. Through the addition of TiN to Si,N, the wear coefficient could be reduced by two orders of magnitude at 800 C when compared with the wear behaviour of monolithic Si3N4, as illustrated in Fig. 4. For these ceramic composites load-carrying oxide layers are formed through tribochemical reactions during the running-in process, as analysed by Auger electron spectroscopy (AES) and ESCA [ 81. AES element distribution micrographs of the wear tracks of Si,N4-TiN show an increase oxygen and titanium concentration when compared with specimen surface outside the wear track, see Fig. 5. ESCA investigations revealed titanium oxide phases in the wear tracks. TIN oxidizes at temperatures above 550 C to TiO, --x and can reduce friction and wear at suitable stoichiometric conditions. The results of these screening experiments with new ceramic composites (which are not yet optimized) indicate


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190 (1995) 155-161



sliding 10 N couples


wear track


FN =

T z 22 C Sliding velocity v

T : 8OO C

Fig. 4. Sliding wear data of new ceramic composites, S&N4 and S&N,-TIN.

the interesting application potential of advanced ceramic materials. In addition it should be noted as a general beneficial characteristic of ceramic is that they cannot fail catastrophically through adhesion and seizure like metallic materials. 4.2. Gluss and glass composites Of special interest in tribological practice for cases where liquid lubricants are not allowed (e.g. food production and handling machines) are materials which form lubricious layers during operation. Polymer materials are candidates for such purposes, but they fail if the friction induced temperature increase in the contacts exceeds material characteristic limits. Preliminary tests indicated that glass materials may be an alternative. Further pin-on-disc tests have therefore been performed with different types of glass and glass composites [ 91. It was expected that considering the brittleness of glass only reinforced glass materials would be useful. The reinforcing materials must withstand the production temperatures of glass, so only ceramic fibres and additives came into consideration. Because of the abrasivity of these types of fillers ceramic counterparts have been chosen. The test conditions have been: normal force, 10 N; continuous sliding velocity, 0.1-1.0 m s-l; laboratory surrounding atmosphere and temperature (RH = 40%, T= 22 C) The wear coefficients determined for the different glass types sliding against Al,o 3 in Fig. 6 indicate that reinforcement with high modulus carbon fibres (Young s modulus 540 GPa) or with C fibres plus Zr02 lowers the wear coefficients below the lop6 mm3 N-l m- limit for useful application. The corresponding steady state friction coefficients are 0.18 and 0.13. These composites fulfil both criteria for suitable engineering application in unlubricated contacts. The high-modulus C fibre reinforced glasses behave equally well against other counterbodies such as steel AISI 52 100. Surface analyses with small spot ESCA, EDX and laser Raman spectroscopy indicated a formation of graphite layers

WO 616 A; T = BOO C; v = 0.38 m/s; F, = IO N; s = 1200 m; rotating disc

Fig. 5. Titanium distribution and oxygen distribution ceramic composite Si3N4-TiN.

on a wear surface of

and glass transfer from the high-modulus C fibre reinforced glass pins to the Al:, counterbody. This formation of selflubricating graphite layers explains the fine tribological behaviour of that tribocouple. 4.3. Polymers and polymer composites
The tribology of new polymer compositions and composite materials was studied systematically by investigating 30 materials types with a pin-on-disk tribometer [ IO]. In these studies a pronounced influence of polymer types on their tribological behaviour was found. This is shown in Fig. 7 for polymer composites based on polyamides. For the polyamide composites the wear coefficient could be reduced below a level of k= lo- mm3 N- m-l. The most beneficial polymer composites for the experimental conditions applied were: ?? polyamide (trade name A3R) with an anti-friction modifier 0 polyamide (trade name KR 4290) filled with 20 vol.% carbon short fibres, randomly distributed.

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glass (Duran);

v: 1 m/s; fiber content:

40 vol.-%


disc: Al?Os

1 E-03


$ 0 k


f g IE-06



Duran g,ass without fibers

I Duran glass + C-fiber (high strength)

I Duran glean + C-fiber (high modulus)

I Duran gtasa + no2 + C-fiber (high modulus)

Fig. 6. Wear coefficient of glass types sliding against Al?, without lubrication


10-s 1

Counter body: St 100 Cr 6: R, - 0.4 Pm

Counter 7

body: AI2 0, (+ PTFE);

R, = 4 pm

P km 102 IO


1 u 10-l ;
1o-2 10-s
PA 66 PA 66 + AFM PA 66 +

P Yde Po~lyt;traaw
P r FE

P ypaAmide
(pin-on-disk tribometer).


Fig. 7. Sliding wear data of polymer composites

Fig. 8. Sliding wear data (reversing tribometer).

motion) of polymer composites


These polyamide composites were studied further with respect to their potential applications in maintenance-free robotics bearings by a newly developed linear tribometer with reversing motion [ 111. This computer-aided tribometer measures continuously the friction and wear as a function of load and velocity. In addition, friction-induced temperatures were determined by thermocouples and the friction heat induced elongations of the specimens could therefore be compensated for. In these studies a special counterbody (namely a Al:,-coating containing PTFE) was used in studying the tribological behaviour of the polymer composites [ 121.

Fig. 8 shows that for the polyamide composites and conditions of dry reversed sliding, only the polyamides with carbon fibres are in the range of a wear level of k= lop6 mm3 N- m- . However, through the application of a special synthetic lubricant (silicon base) with an antifriction modifier , the wear values could be reduced considerably. The lowest wear value (less than k= lop9 mm3 N- m- ) under these conditions was determined for the polyamide composite material (20% C fibres) . Because the polymer specimens had a contact area of 10 mm by 20 mm, extremely low wear rates (perpendicular to the contact area) of 1.5 nm km- sliding distance is observed.


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190 (1995) 155-161

The friction coefficient under those optimized conditions was in the rangef= 0.03-0.08. 4.4. Coatings The advances in coating technology have encouraged the use of thin hard layers for wear protection in various applications for example, abrasion resistant decorative layers, cutting tools. Carbon-based coatings combine different beneficial properties such as high hardness, low roughness, high resistance against corrosion and wear, and usually low coefficients of friction. Recent developments in coating technology provide a broad spectrum of carbon-based coatings including carbon, hydrocarbon, metal-doped hydrocarbons, diamond-like carbon and diamond coatings. Each of these types of coatings behaves in a typical manner under different tribological applications and because of the sometimes insufficient literature description of their composition and structure, discrepancies in tribological valuation appear. A prenormative study at BAM, supported by the CEC in the frame of a BRITE/EURAM project, to characterise the influences of test parameters on friction and wear of such coatings was started. Tribotesting with a small oscillating sliding motion was chosen because of the usually good reproducibility of that method and the reduced the need of test samples compared with other methods. To gain the necessary information the following test parameter variation was performed: ?? stroke length: 0.2 mm-O.4 mm-O.8 mm ?? frequency: 5 Hz-10 Hz-20 Hz 0 load: 5 N-10 N-20 N ?? relative humidity: 3%-50%-100%. The number of cycles was n = 100 000 and the temperature of the ambient air in the test chamber was 25 C. The results presented here are for a Me:CH coating fretting against a steel ball (AK1 52 100) [ 111. The coating was produced by an ARC process on tool steel (M 3). The metal content in the coating was approximately 15 wt.% of Ti and W each. Fig. 9 shows the evolution of friction and wear during a test in a more qualitative manner for one of the test runs. It can be clearly seen that very short test runs for that couple under a dry air atmosphere would lead to a totally incorrect evaluation of the tribological behaviour. After this runningin period the low wear rate and the extremely low friction values of about 0.01-0.02 are evident. Additional short running tests (n = 1 .OOO) and electron microprobe analysis of the wear scar on the ball show that the running-in behaviour is caused by the wear of the steel ball. This is followed by an incubation period then a transfer of coating material to the ball. Fig. 10 and Fig. 11 compile the wear results from all variations of test parameters in one diagram. The figures show the wear coefficient k and the friction coefficient as a function of some kind of power parameter

Fig. 9. Evolution of friction and wear during an oscillating steel ball/Me:CH-coated disk in dry air.

sliding test with

AISI 52100

I M3 + Me : CH

( u = 3% )


20 AX*-

40 F,

80 (Nmmls)



Fig. 10. Wear factor versus the power parameter for tests in dry air.

AlSl52100/ 092 ,




t i


20 Ax-v-F,






Fig. 11. Coefficient air.

of friction versus the power parameter

for tests in dry

Ax uF, (N mm s-i). This parameter is the product of the test parameters stroke length, frequency and normal force. The diagrams reveal that the tested tribocouple fulfils both application criteria stated for technical products. Only the wear factor for the highest power parameter exceeds a little the limit of k< 10e6 mm3 N-i m-i. For all test parameters and the humidity range tested the values of friction and wear coefficients are far below 0.2 and lop6 mm3 N-i m-i respectively, with the exception of tests conducted in dry air and highest power parameter. 5. Concluding remarks In this overview paper, the prerequisites for advances in tribology were analysed from a materials point of view in

H. Czichos et al. / Wear 190 (I 995) 155-161


discussing the tribological behaviour of newer types of ceramics, glasses, polymers and coatings. The results show that through material modifications (i.e. microstructural changes), composite structures, special (solid) lubricants and coatings a beneficial tribological behaviour can be obtained. These results underline the great potential of advanced materials for tribological applications.

[ 111 D. Klaffke, Tribological behaviour of Me:CH coatings on steel against steel in the case of oscillating sliding motion at room temperature, Diamond Films Technol., 3 (3) ( 1994) 149. [ 121 E. Santner, Wear rates of polymer compounds in the nanometer/km range. in Proc. Tribology of Composite Materials, Oak Ridge, May 1990, ASM International, Materials Park, OH, 1990, p. 301.

Biographies Horst Czichos: is president of the Federal Institute of Materials Research and Testing (Bundesanstalt fiir Materialprtifung, BAM) Berlin-Dahlem and adjunct professor (Honorar-Professor) at the Technische Fachhochschule Berlin. He was educated in both engineering and physics and worked for several years in the optical industry until he joined BAM in 1966. He received a degree (Ing.-grad.) in precision engineering from the Polytechnic Ingenieurakademy Gauss Berlin, an MSc. (Dipl.-Phys.) in physics from the Free University and a doctor s degree from the Technical University of Berlin. He has published extensively on various topics in tribology and on the application of modern measuring techniques and systems analysis to this field. Dieter Klaffke: is head of the laboratory Fretting wear; Cryotribology of BAM. He studied physics at the Technical University in Berlin and received the degree of doctor of engineering from the same university in 1978. He joined the BAM in 1970 and worked in the field of fatigue of metals. Since 1980 he has been working in the field of tribology; mainly fretting wear with special interest in ceramics and coatings. Erich Santner: is head of the subdivision Tribology; Wear Protection of BAM. He studied physics at the Free University of Berlin and received an M. SC. (Dipl.-Phys.) and a doctor s degree from the same University. He was engaged in nuclear research, radiation protection and nuclear fuel analysis at the Hahn-Meitner-Institute for nuclear research and at the BAM. In 1986 he joined the tribology group of BAM. The main working fields are tribology of polymers, coatings, development of measurement methods, microtribology and tribophysics.

Acknowledgements The authors thank Mrs. S. Binkowski and Mrs. U. Ernst for their technical help in preparing this paper.

[I] H. Czichos. R. Helms and J. Lexow, Industrial and Materials Technologies: Research and Development Trends and Net&, Bundesanstah fdr Materialforschung und -priifung, Berlin, 1991, 97 PP. Systems Approach to the Science and [2] H. Czichos, Tribology-A Technology of Friction, Lubrication and Wear, Elsevier, Amsterdam, 1978. Informations [ 31 B. Ullmann, New Materials Market Outlook, Bureau d et de Previsions Economiques (BIPE). Neuilly-sur-Seine. 1989. [4] H. Czichos, R.A. Vitro, J. Lexow and D.P. Eade (eds.), Materials Technology and Development; Advance Technology Alert System (ATAS) Bulletin 5, United Nations, New York, 1988, 1.56 pp. [5] H. Czichos and K.-H. Habig, Tribology Handbook Friction and Wear, Vieweg Verlag, Braunschweig, 1992,560 pp. (in German). [6] K.-H. Habig, Tribological behaviour of engineering ceramics, Ingenieur-Werkstofie, 1 (1989) 78 (in German). [7] M. Woydt, A. Skopp and K.-H. Habig, Dry friction and wear of selfmated sliding couples of Sic-Tic and Siy,-TiN, Wear, 148 ( 1991) 377. [ 81 A. Skopp and M. Woydt, Characterization ofthe tribological behaviour of ceramic sliding pairs with modem surface analytical tools, Materialwissenschaji und Werkstoflechnik, 22 ( 1991) 289 (in German). [9] A. Skopp, M. Woydt, K.-H. Habig, T. Klug and R. Bruckner, Friction and wear behaviour of C-and Sic-fibre-reinforced glass composites against ceramic materials, Wear, 169 (1993) 243. 32 [lo] E. Santner, Testing techniques in tribology, Materialpriijiutg, (1990) 18 (in German).