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Micro-abrasion resistance of thermochemically treated steels in aqueous solutions: Mechanisms, maps, materials selection

Mathew, M.T. and Matijevic, B. and Stack, Margaret and Rocha, L.A. and Ariza, E. (2008) Micro-abrasion resistance of thermochemically treated steels in aqueous solutions: Mechanisms, maps, materials selection. Tribology International, 41 (2). pp. 141-149. ISSN 0301-679X

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The area of micro-abrasion is an interesting and relatively recent area in tribo-testing methodologies, where small particles of less than 10 μm are employed between interacting surfaces. It is topical for a number of reasons; its direct relation to the mechanisms of the wear process in bio-tribological applications, ease in conducting tests and the good repeatability of the test results. It has widespread applications in conditions used in the space and offshore industries to bio-engineering for artificial joints and implants. There have been many recent studies on the micro-abrasion performance of materials, ranging from work basic metals to nano-structured coatings. However, no significant work is reported on the micro-abrasion resistance of thermochemically treated steels. Hence, this paper looks at the performance of two thermochemically treated steels, Tenifer bath nitride stainless steel (T-SS) and vanadized carbon steel (V-CS) in such conditions with reference to the stainless steel (SS) by varying the applied load and sliding distance. The results indicated that T-SS demonstrates exceptionally poor resistance to micro-abrasion. It was observed that the heat treatment process and properties of the hardened layer (hardness and thickness) are extremely important in determining the micro-abrasion resistance of such steels. Finally, the results were used to develop micro-abrasion mechanism and wastage maps, which can be used to optimize the surface treated materials for micro-abrasion resistance.