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A Mechanistic Understanding of the Wear Coefficient: From Single to Multiple Asperities Contact

Type of publication Peer-reviewed
Publikationsform Original article (peer-reviewed)
Author Frérot Lucas, Aghababaei Ramin, Molinari Jean-Francois,
Project Contact mechanics of rough surfaces
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Original article (peer-reviewed)

Journal Journal of the Mechanics and Physics of Solids
Volume (Issue) 114
Page(s) 172 - 184
Title of proceedings Journal of the Mechanics and Physics of Solids
DOI 10.1016/j.jmps.2018.02.015


Sliding contact between solids leads to material detaching from their surfaces in the form of debris particles, a process known as wear. According to the well-known Archard wear model, the wear volume (i.e. the volume of detached particles) is proportional to the load and the sliding distance, while being inversely proportional to the hardness. The influence of other parameters are empirically merged into a factor, referred to as wear coefficient, which does not stem from any theoretical development, thus limiting the predictive capacity of the model. Based on a recent understanding of a critical length-scale controlling wear particle formation, we present two novel derivations of the wear coefficient: one based on Archard’s interpretation of the wear coefficient as the probability of wear particle detachment and one that follows naturally from the up-scaling of asperity-level physics into a generic multi-asperity wear model. As a result, the variation of wear rate and wear coefficient are discussed in terms of the properties of the interface, surface roughness parameters and applied load for various rough contact situations. Both new wear interpretations are evaluated analytically and numerically, and recover some key features of wear observed in experiments. This work shines new light on the understanding of wear, potentially opening a pathway for calculating the wear coefficient from first principles.