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The correlation between ZDDP tribofilm morphology and the microstructure of steel

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<mark>Journal publication date</mark>09/2017
<mark>Journal</mark>Tribology International
Volume113
Number of pages13
Pages (from-to)13-25
Publication StatusPublished
Early online date29/10/16
<mark>Original language</mark>English

Abstract

The microstructure of most hard steels used in tribological applications is inhomogeneous at a micro-scale. This results in local variations in chemical composition and mechanical properties. On a similar scale, tribofilms formed by ZDDP and other anti-wear additives are commonly observed to exhibit a patch-like morphology. ZDDP tribofilms formed under controlled contact conditions on four different steel grades were carefully studied with a new AFM technique to analyse the relationship between the steel microstructure and the tribofilm morphology. Tribofilms were found to be thinner on residual carbides than on the martensitic matrix in all grades containing residual carbides. In most cases, the difference in tribofilm thickness is larger than the carbide protrusion.