Journal of Materials Science

, Volume 23, Issue 8, pp 2846–2864 | Cite as

The friction of diamond sliding on diamond

  • B. Samuels
  • J. Wilks


Measurements are reported of the friction of diamond styli polished to a spherical tip sliding over a flat polished diamond surface. Particular attention was paid to maintaining standard conditions during the experiments, particularly the crystallographic orientations of the styli, the flat surface, and the directions of sliding, as well as the conditions of polish. The coefficient of friction was determined for sliding on both (001) and (011) faces, in different sliding directions, and for a range of loads and tip radii. The value of the friction and its variation with the direction of sliding depend quite strongly on the magnitude of the load and the radius of the stylus. However, the present results show that styli of different radii give quite similar friction when sliding under the same mean contact pressure. Hence, apparent discrepancies between previous measurements of the friction may be related to different regimes of pressure in the different experiments. When the stylus slides in the direction of easy abrasion of the flat the coefficient of friction passes through a pronounced minimum value as the contact pressure is increased. This behaviour suggests that at least two mechanisms contribute to the friction. A discussion based on the unusual topography of polished diamond surfaces, shows that the forces and energy losses associated with the friction may arise via at least three different mechanisms. The main features of the present results may be accounted for by two of these mechanisms in which surface asperities either ride over each other or push each other aside. (The third mechansim involving only fracture of the asperities appears to make no significant contribution.)


Polymer Energy Loss Standard Condition Significant Contribution Contact Pressure 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. 1.
    Y. Enomoto and D. Tabor, Nature 283 (1980) 51.Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    Idem, Proc. Roy. Soc. A 373 (1981) 405.Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    M. Casey and J. Wilks, J. Phys. D Appl. Phys. 6 (1973) 1772.Google Scholar
  4. 4.
    F. U. Hillebrecht, MSc thesis, Oxford University (1981).Google Scholar
  5. 5.
    F. P. Bowden and A. E. Hanwell, Proc. Roy. Soc. A 295 (1966) 233.Google Scholar
  6. 6.
    M. Seal ibid. 248 (1958) 379.Google Scholar
  7. 7.
    E. M. Wilks and J. Wilks, J. Phys. D Appl. Phys. 5 (1972) 1902.Google Scholar
  8. 8.
    J. Wilks, Nature 243 (1973) 15.Google Scholar
  9. 9.
    A. G. Thornton and J. Wilks, J. Phys. D Appl. Phys. 9 (1976) 27.Google Scholar
  10. 10.
    A. G. Thornton and J. Wilks, in “Diamond Research 1974”, supplement to Industrial Diamond Revue, (DeBeer Industrial Diamond Division, Ascot, 1974) p. 39.Google Scholar
  11. 11.
    A. G. Thornton, (1977) Personal communication.Google Scholar
  12. 12.
    F. P. Bowden and C. A. Brookes, Proc. Roy. Soc. A 295 (1966) 244.Google Scholar
  13. 13.
    M. Seal, in “The Science and Technology of Industrial Diamonds”, Vol. 1, editied by J. Burls (Industrial Diamond Information Bureau, London, 1967) p. 145.Google Scholar
  14. 14.
    M. Casey, D Phil thesis, Oxford University.Google Scholar
  15. 15.
    K. L. Johnson, in “Contact Mechanics” (Cambridge University Press, 1985).Google Scholar
  16. 16.
    M. Casey, A. G. Lewis, A. G. Thornton and J. Wilks, J. Phys. D Appl. Phys. 10 (1977) 1877.Google Scholar
  17. 17.
    J. G. Bell, M. E. C. Stuvinga, A. G. Thornton and J. Wilks, ibid. 10 (1977) 1379.Google Scholar
  18. 18.
    J. A. Greenwood, J. Lubric. Tech. Trans. ASME 89 (1967) 81.Google Scholar
  19. 19.
    J. A. Greenwood and J. H. Tripp, J. Appl. Mech Trans. ASME 34 (1967) 153.Google Scholar
  20. 20.
    J. I. McCool, Wear 86 (1983) 105.Google Scholar
  21. 21.
    M. Seal, Phil. Mag. A43 (1981) 587.Google Scholar
  22. 22.
    F. P. Bowden and D. Tabor, in “The Friction and Lubrication of Solids, Part I” (Clarendon, Oxford, 1950) p.171.Google Scholar
  23. 23.
    E. Rabinowicz, in “The Friction and Wear of Materials” (Wiley, New York, 1965) p. 675.Google Scholar
  24. 24.
    D. Tabor, in “The Properties of Diamond”, edited by J. E. Field (Academic, London, 1979) p. 325.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Chapman and Hall Ltd. 1988

Authors and Affiliations

  • B. Samuels
    • 1
  • J. Wilks
    • 1
  1. 1.Clarendon LaboratoryOxfordUK

Personalised recommendations