Wear of a single asperity using Lateral Force Microscopy

M.G. Reitsma, R.G. Cain, S. Biggs, David Smith

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    6 Citations (Scopus)


    This report describes an observation of alternating transitions between linear (Amontons) and non-linear friction-load behavior during Lateral Force Microscope experiments using a silicon tip sliding on a quartz surface. Initially, a transition from linear to non-linear behavior was attributed to nanoscale ‘running-in’ of the tip to form a single contact junction at the interface. Once this had occurred, a non-linear relationship between friction and applied load was observed during a number of loading and unloading cycles. For higher compressive loads, a further transition to a more linear friction-load behavior was attributed to nanoscale wear in the contact zone. Notably, when applied load was reduced below this ‘high-load’ transition point, the same non-linear friction-load behavior was again observed, but with a larger (friction per load) magnitude than seen previously. This cycle was repeated five times in these experiments, and each time, switching between non-linear and linear friction-load behavior occurred, along with a progressive increase in friction (per load) each time load was reduced below the transition point. The progressive increase in friction is attributed to an increased area of contact, caused by nanoscale wear at higher applied loads. An increase in tip size was confirmed by tip profiling before and after experiment. By progressively wearing the asperity at higher loads, the (interfacial or true) contact area, A, between the surfaces could be progressively increased, and as a result, a progressive increase in interfacial sliding friction, F f , was obtained at lower loads (according to F f = τA).
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)257-263
    JournalTribology Letters
    Issue number3
    Publication statusPublished - 2006


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