Boundary film for structural ceramic materials

O. O. Ajayi*, A. Erdemir, J. H. Hsieh, R. A. Erck, G. R. Fenske, F. A. Nichols

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal Article peer-review

7 Scopus citations


Structural ceramic materials, like metals, will require lubrication if they are to be used extensively for tribological applications. The use of thin soft metallic coatings (specifically Ag) as a boundary film during mineral oil lubrication of silicon nitride (Si3N4) and zirconia (ZrO2) ceramic materials was investigated in this study. With a pin-on-flat contact configuration in reciprocating sliding, the steady friction coefficient was reduced by a factor of two (0.14-0.16 vs. 0.06-0.07) when the flats were coated with Ag. Also, with Ag coatings, the wear of pins was reduced to an unmeasurable level, whereas, in the absence of Ag coatings specific wear rates of about 2×10-9-4×10-8 mm3 N-1 m-1 and about 7×10-8-2×10-7 mm3 N-1 m-1 were measured for Si3N4 and ZrO2 pins respectively. In addition to preventing direct contact between pins and flats, thereby reducing wear, the Ag coatings also act as a solid lubricant, help dissipate flash heating, and accelerate modification of the λ ratio.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1150-1155
Number of pages6
Issue numberPART B
StatePublished - 13 04 1993
Externally publishedYes


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