Contact size effects on the friction and wear of amorphous carbon films

Samuel McMaster, Ben D. Beake, Tomasz W. Liskiewicz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Citations (Scopus)
81 Downloads (Pure)


Since different properties of coating systems influence their friction and wear at different length scales contact size can play a critical role in microtribological experiments. In this study the behaviour of 3 different types of coating system which vary in terms of their thickness, substrate and mechanical properties has been investigated. The coatings were chosen for either their industrial relevance in automotive or MEMS applications, or as model coating systems. A wide range of nano/microtribological tests have been performed with different indenter geometries (tip sharpness), including single and repetitive scratch tests with unidirectional contact, and reciprocating wear tests, with depth and friction evolution monitored so that the relationships between failure mechanism and friction in coating systems with differing mechanical properties could be explored. The influence of surface topography on friction has been shown in ramped and constant load scratch tests. When fracture occurred resulting in a sudden increase in probe depth there was an abrupt decrease in friction which is ascribed to a contact area effect. In contrast, where deformation progressed through micro-wear a more gradual increase in depth can be associated with higher contact area and higher friction.
Original languageEnglish
Article number100248
Number of pages19
JournalApplied Surface Science Advances
Early online date13 Apr 2022
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2022

Bibliographical note

This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (,
which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. © 2022 The Authors. Published by Elsevier B.V. This is an open access article under the CC BY-NC-ND license


  • Nanotribology
  • Topography
  • Scratch
  • Wear
  • Microtribology


Dive into the research topics of 'Contact size effects on the friction and wear of amorphous carbon films'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this