Table of Contents
Conference Papers in Science
Volume 2015, Article ID 515498, 11 pages
Conference Paper

On the Role of Oxidation in Tribological Contacts under Environmental Conditions

Institut für Oberflächen- und Schichtanalytik GmbH (IFOS), Trippstadter Straße 120, 67663 Kaiserslautern, Germany

Received 31 July 2014; Accepted 26 November 2014

Academic Editor: Martin Dienwiebel

This Conference Paper is based on a presentation given by Rolf Merz at “European Symposium on Friction, Wear, and Wear Protection” held from 6 May 2014 to 8 May 2014 in Karlsruhe, Germany.

Copyright © 2015 Rolf Merz et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Oxidation processes in tribological steel contacts are investigated, which are treated in a dry sliding, linear reciprocating model tribometer, by EDX (energy dispersive X-ray spectroscopy), AES (Auger electron spectroscopy), and HREFTEM (high resolution energy filtered transmission electron microscopy). Typical for steel contacts under environmental conditions is the feature that the counterparts are separated by oxide layers, which influence the tribological properties. And vice versa the tribological load will influence and change the oxide layers. The interaction of this dynamically coupled system was resolved by focussing the postexperimental surface analysis to long time stable balance states. As special challenge for the analyst of the tribological experiment under environmental conditions a postexperimental grown oxide layer covers the tribological induced changes and has to be distinguished from the tribological induced changes. Thick oxide layers, formed during the tribological load, were observed, which start to grow in form of islands and at the end separate the metallic bulk materials of the counterparts completely and avoid direct metal-metal contact. Thicknesses up to some microns strength, exceeding native oxide layers by magnitudes, were reached. Ploughing under fresh surface oxide and compacting and embedding of fresh oxidized debris particles were identified as main mechanisms responsible for the growing of these thick oxide layers.