[en] Nanoindentatio ; Scanning force microscopy ; Tribological transfer films
[en] In conventional pin-on-disk testing of the tribological characteristics of two different materials in sliding contact, the main parameters of interest are notably the friction and wear properties of the material pair. However, when two bodies consisting of hard and soft materials respectively are subjected to such testing, the appearance of a transfer film, or third body, which can be a composite mixture of the two, is often observed. Until now the characterization of transfer films in terms of their mechanical properties has been hampered by their nonhomogeneous distribution across a tested surface, their small size, low thickness and the difficulty in accurately positioning a test probe such that the film properties can be measured independently from those of the substrate. In this paper a new method is introduced, consisting of nanoindentation and scanning force microscopy (SFM), which is capable of highly localized indentation testing of a specified sample site with high resolution imaging of the area prior to and after indentation. In this way the hardness and modulus of a transfer film can be obtained, as well as valuable surface topographical information concerning the material response to the indentation. Measurements are presented for the material pair A286/polyimide after testing on a pin-on-disk tribometer in ambient air and liquid nitrogen. Distinct variations in hardness between the transfer films and their contacting bodies have een observed and correlated to the wear behaviour and testing environment. (C) 1997 Elsevier Science S.A.