The effect of solute atoms on sliding wear was studied by alloying OFHC copper with chromium, silicon and tin. The hardness was found to increase linearly with the atomic solute content although the rate of hardening was different for different solutes. Microscope observations show that the principal mode of wear is indeed delamination. The results further show that both the wear rate and the friction coefficient are reduced when the solute content is increased. The reduction in the friction coefficient is a consequence of reduced plowing contribution to the tangential component of the surface traction. Both the increase in hardness and the decrease in the friction coefficient reduce the wear since both affect the subsurface deformation rate and consequently the crack nucleation rate. The lower coefficient of friction also reduces the crack propagation rate and the thickness of the wear sheets. © 1977.
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