Friction and wear of coated surfaces: Scales, modelling and simulation of tribomechanisms

Kenneth Holmberg (Corresponding Author), Helena Ronkainen, Anssi Laukkanen, Kim Wallin

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

    178 Citations (Scopus)


    Coating a surface with a thin layer changes the surface material properties and is an important tool for controlling friction and wear. The tribological mechanisms, scale effects and parameters influencing the friction and wear of coated surfaces are discussed. The basic friction and wear mechanisms can be reduced to: friction by adhesion, ploughing and hysteresis and wear by adhesion, abrasion and fatigue combined with material fracture. The tribochemical and surface physical effects and surface fatigue taking place before material fracture are treated here as pure surface material modification mechanisms. Scale effects in a tribological contact are illustrated by explaining typical surface roughness related tribological mechanisms for diamond and DLC coated surfaces. For diamond coatings asperity interlocking effects are important for rough surfaces, graphitisation is a dominating mechanism for smooth engineering surfaces and hydrogenising of dangling bonds may be crucial for physically smooth surfaces. For DLC coated surfaces, surface graphitisation is important with rougher surfaces; building up transfer layers and graphitisation is crucial for smooth engineering surfaces and hydrogenising of dangling bonds can explain superlubricity for physically smooth surfaces. An analysis of dominating surface parameters such as elastic, plastic and fracture behaviour of the top surface, the coating, the coating/substrate interface and the substrate in addition to the coating thickness forms the basis for surface modelling. A stress intensity factor analysis of crack growth shows the importance of considering both modes I, II and III loading, crack spacing and location of crack, while crack orientation, location in crack field as well as load biaxiality have minor influences. It is shown how surface 3D FEM modelling generates stress and strain values at the nano level, within bond layers at coating/substrate interfaces and around cracks and forms the basis for better understanding the origin of wear.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)1034-1049
    JournalSurface and Coatings Technology
    Issue number4-7
    Publication statusPublished - 2007
    MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed


    • tribology
    • coatings
    • modelling
    • scale effects
    • diamond
    • diamong-like carbon (DLC)
    • ProperTune


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