The Relationship Between Ambiently Formed Oxides and the Tribological Behavior of Aluminum Bronze
The relationship between ambiently formed oxides and the tribological behavior of aluminum bronze has been investigated. As the aluminum content of Al-bronze increases from zero to eight weight percent, the mechanical properties, oxidation kinetics, and tribological behavior of the alloy are significantly affected. This research has shown that the friction and wear behavior of Al-bronze depends primarily on the composition and mechanical stability of the ambiently formed surface oxide. Adhesive transfer of Al-bronze to the slider counterfaces increased with increasing aluminum content which corresponded to increased damage to the alloy surfaces and the formation of wear debris. The majority of surface damage (plastic deformation and galling) of the Cu-4 and 6 w/o Al alloys occurred during the initial portion (run-in) of wear testing. The Cu-1 w/o Al alloy wore via an oxidative wear mechanism throughout the course of wear testing. Galling, severe plastic deformation, the formation of metallic wear debris, and adhesive transfer were not observed for the Cu-1 AL w/o alloy. XPS and SEM analysis of the Cu-1 w/o Al alloy showed the worn surfaces to consist of a smooth and adherent Cu_2O layer. Long term ambient oxidation of the Cu-4 and 6 w/o Al alloys resulted in a layered oxide structure with Cu(OH)_2 at the surface followed by CuO, Cu_2O, Al_2O_3, and, lastly, the metallic substrate. The differences in elastic moduli, crystal structures, and composition between the copper alloy and the Al _2O_3 enriched surface oxide decreases the mechanical integrity of the surface oxide. The tensile and compressive stresses generated at the surface of the Al-bronze samples via frictional interaction with the opposing slider is sufficient to cause a large differential in strain across the oxide-metal interface and disruption of the brittle, Al_2O _3 enriched surface oxide. The exposed metal immediately repassivates itself by reforming a surface oxide or forming an adhesive bond with the opposing solid. Exposure of an active metallic surface combined with an increase in surface energy (increased aluminum content) greatly increases the probability of forming an adhesive bond which is stronger in shear than the cohesive strength of the alloy itself. When these conditions prevail, adhesive transfer to the opposing surface occurs and increased wear is observed.
- Pub Date:
- January 1992
- Engineering: Materials Science; Engineering: Metallurgy; Physics: Condensed Matter