Electrotribological behavior of Cu−Ag−Zr contact wire against copper-base strip


Cu−Ag−Zr alloy has an excellent combination of mechanical strength and electrical conductivity, and is a promising contact wire material for high-speed electrified railways. An investigation of the electritrobological behavior of Cu−Ag−Zr wire is presented here. Wear tests are conducted under laboratory conditions with a specified sliding wear tester that simulated train motion under an electrical current applied across the sliding interface. The Cu−Ag−Zr alloy wire is slid against a copper-based powder metallurgy strip used in railway systems under unlubricated conditions. Worn surfaces of the Cu−Ag−Zr alloy wire are analyzed by scanning electron microscopy (SEM) and energy dispersive X-ray spectrum (EDS). Within the studied range of electrical current, normal pressure, and sliding speed, the wear rate increases with increasing electrical current and sliding distance. Adhesive wear, abrasive wear, and electrical erosion are the dominant mechanisms during the electrical sliding processes. Compared with a Cu−Ag contact wire under the same test conditions, the Cu−Ag−Zr alloy wire has much better wear resistance.

This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.


  1. 1.

    D. L. Dixon,Railway Eng. J. 2, 46 (1973).

    Google Scholar 

  2. 2.

    K. Taylor,J. Imech. E. Railway Div. 2, 349 (1971).

    Google Scholar 

  3. 3.

    H. Nagasawa and K. Kato,Wear 216, 179 (1998).

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  4. 4.

    A. Matsuura, T. Nagafuji, and T. Shimada,RTRI Rep 6, 49 (1993).

    Google Scholar 

  5. 5.

    P. Liu and S. G. Jia,Materials Review 6, 32 (2004).

    Google Scholar 

  6. 6.

    S. G. Jia and P. Liu,The Chinese Journal of Nonferrous Metals 7, 1144 (2004).

    Google Scholar 

  7. 7.

    S. G. Jia and P. Liu,Journal of Functional Materials 4, 445 (2004).

    Google Scholar 

  8. 8.

    S. G. Jia and P. Liu,Transactions of Materials and heat Treatment 2, 8 (2004).

    CAS  Google Scholar 

  9. 9.

    P. J. Blau,Wear 72, 55 (1981).

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  10. 10.

    D. Kuhlmam-Wilsdorf,Wear 200, 8 (1996).

    Article  Google Scholar 

  11. 11.

    D. Paulmier, A. Bouchoucha, and H. Zaidi,Vacuum 41, 2213 (1990).

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  12. 12.

    A. Bouchoucha, H. Zaidi, and D. Paulmier,Wear 203–204, 434 (1997).

    Article  Google Scholar 

  13. 13.

    S. Kubo and K. Kato,Tribology Intemational 32, 367 (1999).

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  14. 14.

    N. Saka, J. J. Pamies-Teixeira, and N. P. Suh,Wear 44, 77 (1977).

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  15. 15.

    P. Liu, S. Bahadur and J. D. Verhoeven,IEEE Trans. CPMTA 4, 616 (1994).

    Google Scholar 

Download references

Author information



Corresponding authors

Correspondence to S. G. Jia or P. Liu.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Cite this article

Jia, S.G., Liu, P., Ren, F.Z. et al. Electrotribological behavior of Cu−Ag−Zr contact wire against copper-base strip. Met. Mater. Int. 11, 71–76 (2005). https://doi.org/10.1007/BF03027487

Download citation


  • Cu−Ag−Zr alloy
  • contact wire
  • electrotribological
  • contact strip