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Int J Adv Manuf Technol (2013) 65:395402

DOI 10.1007/s00170-012-4178-0


Sliding wear performance of reinforced A413 alloy

at elevated temperatures
H. R. Manohara & T. M. Chandrashekharaiah &
K. Venkateswarlu & S. A. Kori

Received: 24 November 2011 / Accepted: 17 April 2012 / Published online: 8 May 2012
# Springer-Verlag London Limited 2012

Abstract Dry sliding wear behaviour of AlSi A413 alloy

with and without intermetallics has been studied at ambient
and elevated temperatures. It is observed that as the temperature is increased, the wear rate decreased. The reduction in
wear rate is mainly attributed to the formation of glazing
layers at elevated temperature and is observed in both A413
alloy with and without intermetallics. The wear due to
oxidation is predominant during high temperature sliding.
Keywords Casting . Wear . Microstructure . Elevated .

1 Introduction
The A413 AlSi alloy with reinforced intermetallic particulates has attracted much attention in recent times due its
H. R. Manohara
SJM Institute of Technology,
Chitradurga 577501, India
T. M. Chandrashekharaiah
Kalpatru Institute of Technology,
Tipatur 572202, India
K. Venkateswarlu (*)
CSIR-National Aerospace Laboratories,
Bangalore 560017, India
S. A. Kori
Department of Mechanical Engineering,
Basaveshwar Engineering College,
Bagalkot 587102, India
Present Address:
S. A. Kori
Visvesvaraya Technological University,
Belgaum 590018, India

wide applications as pistons, cylinder liners, brake drums

and rotors, in particular at elevated temperatures in large
manufacturing industries [1]. Severe lubrication problems
are encountered at elevated temperature environments
where the use of oil and grease is restricted. Therefore, there
is a need for solid lubricants to extensively arise under these
extreme conditions. Hence, it is required to develop advanced materials that work with excellent self-lubrication
within a wide temperature range. As a result, aluminium
silicon alloys have received considerable attention for practical as well as fundamental reasons [2]. They are most
important amongst the various foundry alloys contributing
80 % of the aluminium castings [2, 3]. The study of wear
behaviour of metals and alloys that contain intermetallic
particles at high temperatures has attracted attention in the
recent years. Many researchers have reported the importance
of oxidation during wear of metallic materials and the role
of oxide scale [4, 5]. Martinez et al. [6] showed AlSi alloy
reinforced with large Si or SiC particulates in the temperature range of 25 to 250C.
The elevated temperature wear analysis of particulatereinforced composite indicates that critical temperature
plays a major role in the transition from mild wear to severe
wear [7]. The wear behaviour of metals and alloys at elevated temperature is influenced by wearing conditions [8].
Pauschitz et al. [911] demonstrated that the formation of
glazed layers depends on wearing conditions, wearing material and mating material. These layers determine the coefficient of friction and the wearing rate. The coefficient of
friction is decreased when the load is increased, and the
higher the hardness of the mating, surface the higher the
coefficient friction at elevated temperature [12].
The failure mechanism of metal matrix composites used
in elevated temperature sliding condition is quite distinct
from that at room temperature wear. During sliding, severe
wear to mild wear it has been observed with increase of


Int J Adv Manuf Technol (2013) 65:395402

temperature [12, 13]. Yongzhong and Guoding Shang [14]

reported that the addition of graphite particles improved the
friction stability at high temperature wear of copper matrix
hybrid composites. L. Wang et al. [15] explained that the
alterations of the strain state and stress state around the
contact point were considered as responsible for the generation of wear debris, the oscillations of friction coefficient
along the wear track and the increase of friction coefficient
with rising temperature. M. Faraji and L. Katgerman [16]
observed that the number of eutectic silicon particles in Srmodified specimens increased in a higher level compared to
a Sr + Ti-treated specimen. It was also found that Ti slightly
influences the size of eutectic silicon particles.
However, there is limited study concerning the elevated
sliding wear properties of AlSi alloys reinforced with Al
Al3Ti, AlAlB2, AlTiB2 and AlAl4Sr intermetallic particles. The latter are mostly used for automobile components
like piston and cylinder blocks which operate in general at
higher temperatures. It was understood that it is difficult to
make a quantitative comparison of the literature data since the
wear rate and friction coefficient strongly depends on the test
methods, test environment, testing variables, composite manufacturing route and the reinforcement volume fraction, size
and hardness [1720]. The purpose of the present study is to
investigate the dry sliding wear behaviour of A413 alloy with
and without intermetallics at elevated temperatures.

2 Experimental details
2.1 Material
Table 1 shows the weight % of intermetallic additions to A413
alloy. Moreover, Table 2 shows the chemical composition of
A413 alloy with and without intermetallics. All the experimental alloys are prepared by melting and casting route. After
melting the A413 alloy in an electric resistance furnace that
was maintained at 720C, the liquid metal was poured in a
split-type permanent mould of 12.5 mm in diameter and
125 mm in height that was preheated to 100C. After degassing with solid hexachloroethane (C2Cl6), chips that contain
intermetallic particles (Al5 % Al3Ti, Al3 % AlB2, Al3%

Table 1 Investigated alloy

A413 and its reinforcements

TiB2 and Al10 % Al4Sr) were added to the melt for grain
reinforcement purpose. The melt was stirred for 30 s after
adding the grain refiner and poured in to a metallic die after
5 min of holding time. Holding time beyond 5 min in general
is responsible for a fading effect where Si particle size coarsens and the number of nucleating sites available during solidification process decreases.
2.2 Macrostructural analysis
The cast bars of A413 alloys (25 mm diameter and 100 mm
length) with and without intermetallics are sectioned at a
height of 25 mm from the bottom. The freshly cut surface of
the bottom portion was taken for macroscopic studies. One
surface of the sectioned specimen was metallographically
polished. The samples, after polishing, were etched with
Poultons reagent (60 % HNO3 +20 % HCl+5 % HF+
15 % H2O) for obtaining macrostructure. Macroscopic
studies are performed on all the samples before and
after grain reinforcement.
2.3 Microstructural analysis
A specimen of 5 mm in height was cut from the test bar for
macroscopic studies. One surface of the specimen was initially
polished using a belt grinder and then a series of waterproof
emery papers with increasing fineness to remove any scratches
present. Final polishing was carried out on a disc polisher
using alumina powder until a mirror-finish and scratch-free
surface is obtained. Polished samples were cleaned with soap
solution and distilled water. The samples so prepared were
etched using Kellers reagent (2.5 % HNO3 +1.5 % Hcl+1 %
HF+95 % H2O) and observed under light microscopy.
2.4 High temperature wear test
The wear tests were carried out according to ASTM G99-05
standard. The tests were conducted on a pin-on-disc (TR-20PHM 400 Ducom, Bangalore) test machine with a pin heating device and a data acquisition system. The wear specimen (10 mm diameter and 40 mm length) was held inside a
collet and clamped into the taper hole. Surrounding the

Alloy nos.

Alloy and its reinforced composition (optimized in the laboratory)


A413+0.27 % (Al5 % Al3Ti)
A413+0.6 % (Al3 % AlB2 )
A413+0.55 % (Al3 % TiB2 )
A413+0.3 % (Al10 % Al4Sr)
A413+0.55 % (Al3 % TiB2 )+0.3 % (Al10 % Al4Sr)

Melt holding time (min)


Int J Adv Manuf Technol (2013) 65:395402

Table 2 Chemical composition
of the investigated alloy A413
and its reinforcements

Alloy composition

Al5 % Al3Ti
Al3 % AlB2
Al3 % TiB2
Al10 % Al4Sr


Composition (wt.%)






















specimen is a coil heater, which can heat the specimen up to

400C. The heater temperature is controlled by a J-type
thermocouple. The sensor PID senses the measuring temperature. The test pin is loaded against the disc with a dead
weight through a pulley string arrangement. The disc material was made up of En-31 steel (165 mm diameter and
8 mm thickness) containing 0.9 % C, 0.35 % Si, 0.75 %
Mn, 0.05 % S, 1.6 % Cr and 0.05 % P, with hardness of 60
HRc. The surface roughness (Ra) of the disc was 1.6 m.
The pin and the disc are abraded against carbide polishing
papers (800), washed with acetone and dried before each
sliding test to ensure that the tests are carried out under
nominally dry sliding condition. The system has a loading
capacity of 5200 N and a speed range of 3.3333.33 m/s
(2002,000 rpm). A constant 90-mm-diameter track was
used throughout the experimental work. An analytical (Sartorius, Germany BSA 224S-CW model) balance with a
precision of 0.0001 g was used to measure the weight of
the pin before and after each test. The wear rate is calculated
from the weight loss method. When the test specimen reaches the required test temperature and steady-state condition, the frictional force is recorded during experiment by
using frictional sensor (accuracy 0.1 N and capacity 200 N).
Three sets of experiments were carried out and each test
was carried out at room and elevated temperature on A413
alloy. Various parameters like normal pressure (0.12, 0.24,
0.37, 0.49 and 0.62 N/mm2), sliding speed (0.94, 1.88 and
2.82 m/s) and sliding distance (565.48, 1,130.97 and
1,696.46 m) were studied. Tests were carried out at 50, 100,
150, 200 and 250C and at room temperature. The composition of the intermetallic alloys and cast alloys was assessed
using an atomic absorption spectrometer (VARIAN-AA240,
Netherlands) and shown in Table 2. In addition, the tensile
tests were conducted by a computer controlled universal testing machine with Unitech 9450PC (Table 3).

3 Results and discussion

Figure 1ac shows the macrographs of A413 alloy without
and with reinforced intermetallic alloys (0.55 wt.% of Al3
% TiB2 reinforced alloy) along with the combined addition

of intermetallic particles (0.55 wt.% of Al3 % TiB2 +0.3

wt. % of Al10 % Al4Sr). It can be seen from Fig. 1a that
A413 alloy, in the absence of intermetallics, showed a
coarse columnar dendritic structure (0 min referred no alloy
was added), whereas Fig. 1b shows the fine grain structure
due to the addition of 0.55 wt.% of Al3 % TiB2 reinforced
alloy containing AlB2 and TiB2 particles. A similar structure
was observed when addition of combined intermetallic reinforced alloy-containing Al4Sr intermetallic particles was
added to the melt (Fig. 1c).
The light photomicrographs of A413 are shown in
Fig. 2af. Microscopic studies reveal that the absence of
reinforced particles has shown a coarse columnar structure
(Fig. 1a). When 0.27 wt.% of Al5 % Al3Ti master alloy
was added to the liquid AlSi melt, the presence of Al3Ti
intermetallics was responsible for a microstructural change
and led to the conversion of a coarse columnar dendrite
structure to a coarse equiaxed structure (Fig. 1b).
Figure 1c shows the presence of AlB2 particles along with
primary silicon and Al matrix when 0.6 wt.% Al3 % AlB2
alloy was added to A413 liquid melt. The AlB2 particles act
as a heterogeneous nucleating agent in the melt and form an
equiaxed grain structure. In addition, a large number of
insoluble boride particles effectively nucleated large Al
grains. Similarly, when 0.55 wt.% Al3 % TiB2 containing
boride particles such as TiB2 and (Al, Ti) B2 particles was
added to A413 melt and after solidification, the microstructure was changed from a coarse columnar dendritic structure
to a fine equiaxed -Al dendritic structure (Fig. 1d). However, eutectic silicon remained unaffected as expected. With
the addition of 0.3 wt.% of Al10 % Al4Sr particles to A413
Table 3 Tensile and hardness of the investigated alloy A413 and its


% elongation






Int J Adv Manuf Technol (2013) 65:395402

Fig. 1 ac Photomacrographs
of A413 alloy a). without
addition of reinforcement, b).
with 0.55wt% of Al-3%TiB2
and, c). With combined addition
of (0.55wt of Al-3% TiB2
+0.3wt% of Al-10%Al4Sr)

melt, unmodified acicular plate-like eutectic silicon was

changed to a small particle/fibrous structure (Fig. 1e). However, the combined addition of Al3 % TiB2 and Al10 %
Al4Sr reinforced intermetallic alloy resulted in a simultaneous refinement of -Al to equiaxed and needle-like eutectic silicon to a finer particle structure (Fig. 1f). An
addition of intermetallic particles had modified the nucleated silicon to a finely distributed primary crystal and suppressed the growth of silicon crystals within the eutectic.

Fig. 2 af Photomicrographs
of A413 alloy a) without
addition of reinforced
intermetallic alloys b) With
0.275wt% of AI-5%AI3Ti c)
0.60wt% of AI-3%AIB2 d)
0.55% of AI-3%TiB2 e) with
0.3wt of AI_10%aSr & f) with
combine addition of 0.55wt%
of AI-3% TiB2 +0.3wt% of AI10%AI4Sr

The precipitated primary silicon particles embedded in a

eutectic matrix consist of continuous phases of aluminium
and silicon. Silicon in the form of plates is fragmented to
fine particles and is uniformly distributed throughout the
matrix. Thus, it leads to improved mechanical properties
The effects of intermetallic particles being present in
A413 alloy on the mechanical properties are shown in
Table 3. It is clear that improvement in the mechanical

Int J Adv Manuf Technol (2013) 65:395402

properties such as ultimate tensile stress, percentage elongation and microhardness of the alloy can be achieved with
the addition of reinforced intermetallic alloys. It is also clear
that the combined addition of reinforced alloys to A413 Al
Si alloy has resulted in maximum improvement of mechanical properties as compared to the individual addition of
reinforced alloys.
The influence of temperature on wear rate of A413 alloy
is presented in Fig. 3. The wear rate for both the A413 alloy
and composites is similar. It was observed that the wear rate
was decreased for alloy and its composites with increase in
temperature. However, predominantly, the wear rates of
composites are lower than that of alloy. The tests can perform well up to 250C, but the A413 alloy can withstand up
to 200C. The gross damage of a specimen during the test
was observed under a sliding distance of 1,669.46 m at 200
C for A413 alloy. The contact surfaces at high temperature
operating conditions are susceptible to oxidation by reacting
with the environment. It was observed that an oxidation
effect also happened even at room temperature. The wear
rate of A413 base alloy and with intermetallics was reduced
when the operating temperature was increased. This is due
to the formation of a glaze layer, which offers protection [4,
5, 7]. During high temperature sliding, tearing of oxide
layers takes place because of thermal stresses and compaction due to applied pressure resulting in agglomerated clusters of oxide wear debris. Eventually, due to temperature and
applied pressure, sintering of fine wear debris occurs. The
rate of sintering was increased with an increase in temperature, which results in the formation of solid smooth hard
surfaces termed as glaze [7, 911]. The glaze layers protect
the sliding surfaces for a longer time from developed forces
and hence the wear rate is reduced. The failure of glaze later

Fig. 3 Temperature vs volumetric wear at fixed sliding speed and

fixed sliding distance


leads to the formation of an oxide layer and tearing of oxide

layer, resulting in sintering of the wear debris and the
process is repeated. It is evident from the wear trend that
the glaze layer effect is not influenced at room temperature
for A413 base alloy and with intermetallics. Another wear
mechanism could be possible for the reduction of wear rate
while increasing the temperature in air environment. A
continuous sliding action between the surfaces led to the
removal of oxide film, resulting in direct metal-to-metal
contact and exposing new areas to the environment. During
direct metal-to-metal contact, the refined and modified pin
surface forms a thin tribo film between surfaces. Film is a
continuous process, which results in decrement of wear rate.
However, the absence of intermetallic particles in A413 base
alloy shows a higher wear rate. The oxidation process is
further enhanced by an increase in test temperature. The
oxide film formed during high temperature wear can reduce
the rate of mass loss by reducing or even sometimes eliminating metal-to-metal contact and giving a transition from
severe to mild wear. The oxides are also present in the form
of fine wear particles. The wear rates are decreased due to
the formation of a nearly smooth layer on the sliding surfaces. The presence of AlAl3Ti, AlAlB2, AlTiB2 and Al
Al4Sr intermetallics in base alloy has an influence on high
temperature wear. Since Ti, B and Sr improve the tensile
strength and hardness of the A413 alloy with intermetallics,
it is believed that improved mechanical properties also have
an influence in high temperature wear [10].
The effect of sliding distance with coefficient of friction
of A413 base alloy and with intermetallics is shown in
Fig. 4af. Both mild and severe wear regimes are observed.
The transition of mild to severe wear occurred in A413 alloy
even at room temperature sliding and this effect is predominantly visible at 250C. Due to the presence of intermetallic
particle of Al3Ti, the transition of mild to severe wear is
observed at 50, 100 and at 250C. The presence of AlAlB2
particles led to an observation of mild to severe wear at
room temperature and at 250C, whereas in AlTiB2 it was
observed at 250C. With AlAl4Sr particles, it is mild to
severe wear in room temperature and at 250C, but combined additions of AlTiB2 and AlAl4Sr particles show
severe wear at room temperature, 50, 100, 150 and 200C.
In addition, the coefficient of friction increases suddenly at
350-m sliding distance at room temperature and combined
additions of AlTiB2 and AlAl4Sr at 50C. However, there
is no variation in the coefficient of friction for the A413
alloy with intermetallics at 200C, except for some initial
Friction trace shows fluctuations to various degrees as
sliding is continued and all that can be done to obtain an
average coefficient of friction for a particular alloy at selected loads and speeds. It does not follow that a wildly fluctuating friction trace will give a low average friction. For


Int J Adv Manuf Technol (2013) 65:395402

Fig. 4 af Effect of
temperature on the coefficient
of friction

example, A413 alloy showed avery rapid change of friction

with time while an average coefficient of friction was 0.35
(Fig. 5). In contrast, the presence of Al4Sr in A413 alloy
shows a high coefficient of friction of 0.65 although the
sliding is quiescent, producing a smooth friction trace. As a
result, an interesting observation is that a high degree of
surface damage does not necessarily mean a high coefficient
of friction. For example, at a load of 1 kgf on a pin of 10 mm
in diameter at 250C running on a steel counterface, A413
alloy with Al4Sr intermetallics is scuffed whereas A413
alloy with Al3Ti particles is not, but both give a coefficient
of friction of 0.38 (Fig. 5). This may define the theories of
friction, which postulate that as the opposing asperities
make contact and form cold welds, resistance to shear is
experienced. It is intuitively correct to think that the more
consolidated the cold welds, the greater the surface damage

Fig. 5 Effect of temperature on the average coefficient of friction

Int J Adv Manuf Technol (2013) 65:395402


is produced by a coalescence of these wear cracks. The

material removal took place due to the delamination of the
sub-surface layers. The groove on the worn surface indicates
the removal of thick oxide layers. The oxide debris would be
deposited in these grooves and form a wear-resistant layer.

4 Conclusions

Fig. 6 af SEM micrographs of worn-out surfaces of pin materials

tested at a temperature of 120C, speed of 400 rpm, load of 4 kgf, and
duration of 10 min

due to tangential traction. Strong welds should also mean a

high value of friction [24]. SEM images of A413 alloy worn
surfaces at a temperature 120C, speed 400 rpm, load of
4 kgf and duration of 10 min are shown in Fig. 6af. The
worn surface of A413 alloy shows the absence of reinforced
particles and has shallow grooves with wear scratches
(Fig. 6a). The fracture analysis of A413 alloy (Fig. 6b)
clearly demonstrates the presence of Al3Ti intermetallics
with a clear surface plastic deformation. Moreover, a large
number of insoluble boride particles were responsible for
the nucleation of large Al grains. The presence of AlB2
particles is shown in Fig. 6c. Similar observations are made
when TiB2 particles are present (Fig. 6d). The grooves
indicate the transition of severe wear. Al4Sr additions modify the silicon to a fibrous structure and show plastic deformation with abrasion action of silicon particles (Fig. 6e).
This leads no traces of wear tracks and sliding direction.
However, the combined addition of TiB2 and Al4Sr reinforced the intermetallic alloy and resulted in simultaneous
refinement and modification. A uniform distribution of the
matrix makes the surface hard (Fig. 6f) and resulted in poor
wear tracks and sliding direction. Sub-surface delamination

The dry sliding wear behaviour of A413 AlSi alloy with

and without intermetallic particles at ambient and elevated
temperatures was studied and the following conclusions
were drawn.
The wear properties are considerably improved by the
addition of intermetallic particles of Al3Ti, TiB2, AlB2 and
Al4Sr to A413 alloy and the wear resistance of these reinforced alloys is also higher than that of the A413 base alloy
for all operating temperature conditions.
The wear rate of the A413 alloys with and without
intermetallics decreased with an increase in temperature
with a constant sliding distance. This effect is due to the
oxide film formation on sliding components, which is more
rapid at high operating temperatures. These later prevent the
direct metal-to-metal contact of sliding surfaces during sliding. Nevertheless, the wear rate for the A413 alloy with
intermetallics is less than that of the A413 base alloy. This
is due to the combined effect of AlAl3Ti, AlTiB2, Al
AlB2 and AlAl4Sr intermetallics that modify the grain
structure, thus responsible in preventing direct metal-tometal contact during sliding operation.
Acknowledgments The authors wish to thank the Visvesvaraya
Technological University (VTU), Belgaum, Karnataka, India, for providing financial assistance to carry out this research work under VTU
Research Grant Scheme 2011-12.

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Research highlights
1. Wear rate of A413 and its composites decreases with increase in
the temperature
2. Al-Si with Al3Ti, TiB2, AlB2, Al4Sr intermetallics showed good
sliding wear results
3. oxide film formation is more rapid at high operating temperatures
4. Oxide layers prevent the direct metal to metal contact of surfaces
during sliding
Statement of originality
We, authors of the present manuscript fully certify that the work is
carried out in our laboratory. All experiments on sliding wear test have
been conducted using our existing tribological facilities. The work is
original and not copied from others. We are fully responsible all the
items mentioned in the manuscript.