Laser surface texturing process involves the creation of microfeatures, e.g., tiny dimples, that are usually distributed in a certain pattern, covering only a fraction of the surface of the material that is being treated. This process offers several advantages for tribological applications, including improved load capacity, wear resistance, lubrication lifetime, and reduced friction coefficient. In the present study, surface modification of gray cast iron using femtosecond laser irradiation is adopted in order to establish an optimal geometric pattern with dimple features and dimensions, to improve wear and friction behavior. The surface texturing of gray cast iron was done with the help of an ultrafast laser with a pulse duration of 100 fs and wavelength of 800 nm. The effect of a range of process parameters, such as pulse energy, scan velocity, and textured density, on the performance characteristics of laser-textured samples was investigated. The laser surface textures were examined using an opto-digital 3-D microscope. The friction and wear tests under starved lubrication condition were performed using a ball-on-disk tribometer. The textured surfaces cause a significant reduction in friction coefficient (by 72 %) and wear (by 19 %) over the untextured surfaces. Furthermore, an analysis of wear tracks using a scanning electron microscope and energy-dispersive x-ray spectroscopy show a significant improvement in wear resistance. The wear track of the textured surface exhibited a significant reduction of wear debris and was found to be smoother than the untextured surface. Among various patterns tried, the pattern with 55 % texture density gave the best results.
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