Published: Jan 2007
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MOST OF THE TESTS DESCRIBED TO THIS POINT simulate tribosystems in machinery. Damage and wear effects usually are macroscopic, that is, it is possible to see what happened with the unaided eye. However, the advent of computers and advances in medicine have brought about a variety of tribotests that are quite different. Microtribotests deal with sliding systems involving motions and wear events with sizes in the range of 1 to 100 µm. Nanotribology deals with wear effects that are in the range of 1 to 100 nm. Biotribology is the science of interactions occurring in human joints and internal body mechanisms. These subjects are quite diverse, but they have commonality in their specificity. Each deals with a specialty in tribology that is limited in participation, but not importance.
For example, microtribology mostly started by wear and friction studies in computer storage media. Disk drive head wear is measured in micrometers. Many micro electronic mechanisms can only tolerate wear in nanometers. Joint replacement is a significant part of biotribology and a life-changing incident for hundreds of thousands of people in the United States each year. The research and development undertaken in these areas does not occur in the average tribology lab, nor does the average machine designer use their tests, but they are part of tribotesting, and it is the purpose of this chapter to describe these fields and the tests that are use. The objective of this chapter is to provide a reference for additional tools that may apply to any tribological study.
The specific subjects that will be addressed are surface analysis tools, scanning probe microscopy, scratch testing (ASTM G 171), nanoindentation testing, biotribology tests, and ASTM standards in these areas. The tools used for micro-, nano-, and biotribology studies often can also be applied to more common friction and wear problems.