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Tribological Properties Mapping: Local Variation in Friction Coefficient and Adhesion


Tribological properties mapping is a new technique that extracts friction coefficient and adhesion maps obtained from lateral atomic force microscope (LAFM) images. By imaging the surface systematically as a function of load, a series of images can be tiled, and pixelwise fitted to a modified Amontons’ Law to obtain friction coefficient and adhesion maps. This removes the ambiguity of friction contrast in LAFM imaging which can be a function of the load used for imaging. In ambient laboratory, air and tetradecane, a sample of Vancron®40, commercial powder metallurgical tool alloy containing nitrogen, have been scanned using a standard silicon cantilever in order to obtain tribological data. The tribological properties mapping provides unique information regarding the heterogeneous alloy microstructure as well as shedding light on the tribological behavior of the alloy.

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This project is part of the program “Microstructure, Corrosion and Friction Control” financed by SSF, the Swedish foundation for Strategic Research. We also thank the Swedish Research Council for financial support. Uddeholms AB, Sweden, is acknowledged for supplying the Vancron®40 samples and the microstructure information of the alloy. Useful discussions with Gunnar Dunér and Emily Cranston are gratefully acknowledged.

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Correspondence to Mark W. Rutland.

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Álvarez-Asencio, R., Pan, J., Thormann, E. et al. Tribological Properties Mapping: Local Variation in Friction Coefficient and Adhesion. Tribol Lett 50, 387–395 (2013). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11249-013-0136-8

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  • Friction
  • AFM
  • Atomic force microscope
  • LFM
  • Lateral atomic force microscope
  • Nanotribology
  • Friction coefficient mapping
  • Adhesion
  • Tool alloy
  • Microstructure