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Book Review

The Friction and Lubrication of Solids

Part II
F. P. BOWDEN and D. TABOR. (The International Series of Monographs on Physics).
Clarendon Press: Oxford, 1964. x x + 5 4 4 pp. 6 in. by 9½ in., 84s

FRICTION between solid bodies plays a very important part in our civilization. Never-
theless, it is not one of the fashionable and glamorous research subjects, and physics
textbooks usually do not say much more about it than that friction is an irreversible
process and that heat is generated when one solid body is made to rub against another.
A monograph on this subject is therefore to be welcomed. The one under review
'is a sequel to the first volume published in 1950 (revised 1954) . . . . ' Twenty three
of its twenty four chapters again deal almost exclusively with the work of the
authors and their research students, whereas the concluding chapter on 'Some
early work on sliding and rolling friction' (13 pp) gives at least some indication of
the long history of the subject. It also makes reference to what appears to be a
much more complete and up-to-date review (it is printed in Russian) by I. V. Kragel-
skii and V. S. Shchedrov entitled Development of the Science of Friction and
published in 1956 by the Soviet Academy of Sciences.
The first volume described mainly the frictional behaviour of metals in terms of
the formation and shearing of 'interfacial junctions'. In the second volume an
adhesion mechanism of friction for metals is outlined and an attempt is made to
show how far these concepts, with some modification, may be aplied to the frictional
behaviour of non-metals.
This is a thought-provoking book. It is not easy to glean from it how the fre-
quently referred to 'interfacial junctions' are thought to be formed. The claim is
made that with the application of a tangential stress 'combined stresses at the regions
of contact produce junction growth', and that this model 'does explain one of the
most puzzling features of metallic friction: that for rigorously cleaned, surfaces the
coefficient of friction tends to infinity, whereas in the presence of only small amounts
of surface contamination the coefficient of friction fails to values of the order of
unity'. Surely, this is a bold statement. The coefficient of friction is defined as the
ratio of the force of friction to the normal load. The force of friction is called
forth by a tangential shearing stress. Do the authors suggest that by rigorous
cleaning of a frictional contact a material able to withstand an infinite shearing stress
can be produced? They quote a little later on friction experiments on the cleavage
face of rocksalt and with clean steel on rocksalt where the coefficient of friction
has been a b o u t 0"7 to 0"8.
Skiing and ice,skating depend on the melting of the surface layers of the snow
and ice by frictional heating, and it is a well-established practice to 'wax' the wooden
runners of skis in order to prevent the formation of very thin adhesive layers by
the combined blotting actions of the porous snow and the porous wood.
In a chapter on 'The friction and deformation of polymeric materials', the com-
paratively low friction of polytetrafluorethylene has been singled out for discussion.
Electrostatic effects (p 235) are only just mentioned, and 'stick-slip motion' (p 78)
has received a similarly sketchy treatment.
This book has been very well produced and contains a large number of beautiful
and interesting photographs, which enhance its value. It should form a useful basis
for arousing the curiosity of physicists and engineers in the fascinating subjects of
friction and wear and in stimulating discussions and some clear thinking on their