Design and construction of a micro-tribotester for precise in-situ wear measurements

Oleksiy V. Penkov, Mahdi Khadem, Andy Nieto, Tae Hyeong Kim, Dae Eun Kim

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Citations (Scopus)


Extensive research efforts have been devoted to understand the complex mechanisms of wear with the aim to minimize wear in sliding systems. Improvements in the instruments used for the characterization of the wear phenomenon are required to enhance the effectiveness of research method. In this paper, we report the design of an experimental platform that enables in-situ observation of the surface topography evolution during the evaluation of the tribological behavior of surfaces in dry and lubricated conditions. Use of state-of-the-art components for surface topography measurement, planar positioning, and force sensing allowed for the improvement of sensitivity and resolution compared with the previously reported systems. The effectiveness of the tribotester was demonstrated through friction and wear tests performed using a stainless-steel ball and a silicon wafer coated with SiO2. It was found that transition of the wear mechanism from adhesive to abrasive wear took place when a significant amount of wear debris was formed as evidenced by the in-situ observation of removal of the coating and exposure of the Si substrate. The in-situ observation of wear phenomena enabled a robust and in-depth elucidation of wear mechanisms.

Original languageEnglish
Article number103
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2017 Mar 28

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2017 by the authors.

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Control and Systems Engineering
  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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