Metal ceramic wear mechanisms
Sliding wear of metal-on-ceramic, ceramic-on-metal, and ceramic-on-ceramic have been investigated using a tri-pin-on-disc machine. A technique has been developed for thin foil preparation for transmission electron microscopic examination perpendicular to the wear surface. The role of transformation toughening in the wear behaviour of zirconia ceramics has been investigated. In addition, the role of high strain deformation in a steel surface has been evaluated. The wear factor of 316L stainless steel pins worn against a zirconia disc was found to decrease as the load was increased, believed to be associated with metal oxide formation. TEM of the stainless steel revealed a worn surface which consisted of a mechanical mixture of metal oxide and heavily deformed metal. Deformation of the metal had occurred by shear banding with a microstructure similar to that observed in rolled specimens, although the texture formed was a wire texture rather than a rolling texture. The crystallite size was found to decrease towards the surface, demonstrating that the shear stress was a maximum at the surface. The shear bands at the surface had always been formed by the passage of the last asperity indicating that contact was plastic over the load range 6-60N/pin. The majority of wear occurred by transfer resulting from plastic overload, although a contribution to the material loss was made by metal extruded off the end of the pin as a result of the high strains. The depth of deformation correlated closely with the wear volume. The wear of the zirconia discs was found to be dominated by metal transfer. With Mg-PSZ, transformation occurred cooperatively in crystallographically determined bands. Microcrack coalescence led to preferential wear in these bands. However, with a Y-TZPdisc transformation appeared to have been responsible for widespread surface fracture. The wear of zirconia pins against a bearing steel disc gave limited metal transfer. Very little transformation of tetragonal to monoclinic was observed. However, milder forms of the transformation related wear mechanism did occur. Zirconia had formed a solid solution with the iron oxide, leading to the conclusion that the wear mechanism was tribochemically based. TZP worn against a ZTA disc showed evidence of very high temperature rises at the interface. The surface layer was amorphous and contained a mixture of alumina and zirconia suggesting that melting had occurred at the interface during sliding. At a depth of O.5pm. the surface consisted of heavily elongated tetragonal grains, with a low dislocation density, indicating a strain of at least 1.7. At a depth of 2-4pm a layer of monoclinic was found. There was evidence that the stresses imposed by friction extended to at least 8-10pm from the surface. TZP containing 20vol% SiC whiskers gave exceptionally low wear rates when worn against a ZTA disc. The greater wear resistance is believed to be a result of the improved load bearing capacity and of the higher thermal conductivity. It is clear that the poor thermal conductivity of zirconia dominates its tribological behaviour. Temperature generation was high enough to substantially reduce the driving force for transformation of the tetragonal to monoclinic, with a high enough temperature for plastic' deformation where a low thermal conductivity counterface was used. Where transformation occurred, its effect was to increase the wear rate.