Tribology and Aluminium Matrix Composites

Tribology and Aluminium Matrix Composites

Sunil Mohan (Indian Institute of Technology (BHU), India), Rakesh Kr. Gautam (Indian Institute of Technology (BHU), India) and Anita Mohan (Indian Institute of Technology (BHU), India)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-7530-8.ch005


Knowledge of tribology is very old but much attention has been paid only in the 20th century. It is science and technology of interacting surfaces in sliding, rolling, or any other kind of motion. Tribology includes knowledge of wear, friction, and lubrication, which is of much importance in designing of machine components. This chapter deals with an overview of friction, sliding friction, and contributing factors such as adhesion, ploughing, deformation, third body, time dependence, and mechanisms of friction in metallic materials. It also provides an overview of adhesive and abrasive wear and wear mechanism in mild and severe wear regime for metallic materials. Important material properties, environmental effects, and operating parameters have also been highlighted. In the last section, the importance of Particle Aluminium Matrix Composites (PAMCs) with soft and hard dispersion is explained with the help of operative wear mechanisms.
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The present situation of wear has been stated as a complex jigsaw puzzle. Pieces fit together here and there but the overall pattern is far from clear. Rigney et al (1984)


1. Introduction

Documents are available for bearing applications providing low friction even in early days of human existence (Dowson, 1979; Stachowiak, 2005) and available evidences suggest that the knowledge of friction was available since the late 16th century. Tribology comes from a Greek word ‘Tribos’ which means ‘rubbing’ of surfaces. Rubbing of a surface may take place when it is in relative motion with another solid object or liquid or gas with solid particles. Under such situations friction and wear are observed and to minimize them some kind of lubrication (solid, fluid, gaseous) is required. Hence, tribology is the science and technology of wear, friction and lubrication because in any mechanical system all three are important. However, depending on situations and applications wear and friction both may be desirable or undesirable or one of these may be desirable and other one undesirable which becomes evident from the Table 1 (Stachawiak, 2005).

Table 1.
Wear and friction applications
ApplicationRequired level of
Braking systems and clutchesHighLow
Bearings, PistonsLowLow

Though the evidences of knowledge of tribology are available for long but it has been very limited. Extensive knowledge has been gained only after Second World War. It becomes a need of the hour for tribologists to put extra effort in minimizing wear and friction. It is estimated that the losses as waste of energy due to friction and in the form of wear as production losses due to mechanical failure of machine components, are of the tune of millions of millions £ every year.

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