Wear Transition Diagram for Silicon Carbide

X. Dong and S. Jahanmir, “Wear Transition Diagram for Silicon Carbide,” Tribology International, 28 (1995) 559-572.

To obtain information on the tribological behaviour of silicon carbide at elevated temperatures, unlubricated ball-on-flat wear tests were conducted on sintered silicon carbide in self-mated sliding in air. The contact load was varied from 3.2 to 98.0 N, and a temperature range of 23°C to 1000°C was used. Scanning electron microscopy, Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy and energy-dispersive spectroscopy were used to elucidate the wear mechanisms. The results of the tests and observations were employed to construct a wear transition diagram, which provides a summary of tribological information including friction coefficient, wear coefficient and wear mechanisms as a function of temperature and load. The wear transition diagram for the sintered silicon carbide studied is divided into four regions plus one transition zone. At room temperature, under high loads and high environmental humidity, the tribological behaviour is controlled by tribochemical reactions between the silicon carbide surface and water vapour in the environment. Under low loads and at temperatures below 250°C, wear occurs by ploughing and polishing. At temperatures about 250°C and under low loads, tribooxidation and formation of cylindrical wear particles control the tribological behaviour. Wear occurs by microfracture when the load is increased above a critical value; and both the friction coefficient and the wear coefficient increase.

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