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Technical ceramic materials offer tremendous potential in a wide variety of engineering applications. Their unique blend of physical, chemical, and mechanical properties provide innovative design opportunities for advanced concepts such as low-heat rejection engines, high-efficiency gas turbines, high temperature bearings, and high-speed, high-precision cutting tools. Unfortunately, many of the critical friction and wear (tribological) properties of advanced ceramics are not well defined or understood. Research in materials science of advanced ceramics is developing very rapidly. As materials change and new materials are constantly being developed, the evaluation of these materials for tribological applications becomes a critical issue. This paper explores several important considerations in friction and wear testing of ceramic materials. Detailed test sample characterization is required to define the materials pair. Sample preparation, selection of load and speed, environmental control, and contamination effects are crucial to the meaningful tribological evaluation of ceramic materials. Specific examples are given using a modified four-ball wear tester with alumina specimens.
alumina, ceramic, ESCA, four-ball, friction, lubricant, standards, test method, tribology, wear
The Pennsylvania State University, University Park, PA
National Bureau of Standards, Gaithersburg, MD