Tribology Letters

, Volume 37, Issue 3, pp 529–539 | Cite as

Origin of Friction in Running-in Sliding Wear of Nitride Coatings

Original Paper


To investigate the origin of running-in friction in unlubricated sliding wear, a magnetron sputtered multilayer coating TiAlN/VN was tested on a ball-on-disc tribometer for a series of sliding durations from 10 to 1000 cycles, followed by careful observation of the obtained worn surfaces using an field-emission gun scanning electron microscope. Three steps of friction variation were found: (1) prior to wear particle generation, low initial friction coefficient was around 0.2–0.25 purely attributed to the asperity contact; (2) then it increased steeply to a range of 0.4–0.5 in the first 100 cycles following the generation, breaking and agglomeration of wear particles, and in particular the scaling-up of fish-scale-like tribofilm; (3) eventually it approached to a steady-state value around 0.5 when the friction was governed by the viscous shearing of the tribofilm. It is concluded that, under unlubricated sliding wear, the friction behaviour of transition metal nitride hard coating is dominated by the viscous shearing of tribofilm adhesively bonding to the parent nitride coating.


Friction Wear mechanisms Hard coatings High-resolution SEM Sliding wear 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Materials and Engineering Research InstituteSheffield Hallam UniversitySheffieldUK

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