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Details of Grant 

EPSRC Reference: GR/K33330/01
Principal Investigator: Page, Professor T
Other Investigators:
Thompson, Professor D Evans, Professor JT
Researcher Co-Investigators:
Project Partners:
Department: Mech Materials & Manuf Engineering
Organisation: Newcastle University
Scheme: Standard Research (Pre-FEC)
Starts: 01 May 1995 Ends: 31 August 1998 Value (£): 244,827
EPSRC Research Topic Classifications:
Materials Characterisation Surfaces & Interfaces
EPSRC Industrial Sector Classifications:
Related Grants:
Panel History:  
Summary on Grant Application Form
It is increasingly recognised that the tribological response of materials (eg friction and wear) and their progressive degradation by contact (eg by contact fatigue) are controlled by mechanical processes operating well below the micron-scale (eg detailed line-scale topography, chemomechanical effects, the fate of plastically-displaced material, surface crack nucleation etc). Such phenomena are beyond the resolution of SEM techniques and by their surface location, difficult to study by TEM methods, equally over any significant spatial area. Recently, SPM techniques have developed to the extent of allowing detailed investigations (at, and below, the nanometer level) of the surface topography and mechanical properties of solid surfaces. It is proposed to use AFM techniques to examine the tribological response of the surfaces of engineering ceramics, wear resistant ceramic coatings (eg TiN, TiN-Ti multilayers, diamond, a:C-H) and high strength gear steels. With an instrument allowing previously located damage sites to be precisely addressed, topographic studies will be used to characterise undamaged surfaces and then explore the surface profiles changes associated with hardness indentations, nanoindentations, wear scars, nano-scratch etc. Detailed surface shapes, plastic pile-up, sink-in and crack initiation will all be characterised and the data used to both further our indentations of basic ultra-fine-scale deformation mechanics and as a basis for behavioural modelling. Tapping mode techniques will be used to explore the extent and behaviour of absorbate layers believed to control friction while spectroscopy techniques will be applied to the estimation of elastic moduli and hardness parameters on a point-to-point basis around damage sites and across different phase regions. Lateral force microscopy will be examined to see if adhesive friction force origins can be characterised in this way. In addition, topography imaging will be used to study the early stages of phase changes and chemical reactions on surfaces during ceramic processing and in-service wear. A parallel objective will be to ascertain the types of useful information concerning the surface structure and mechanics of ceramic materials (etc) currently accessible by SPM techniques, and how this relates to information gained by other techniques (eg SEM, indentation testing, x-ray stress analysis etc).
Key Findings
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Organisation Website: http://www.ncl.ac.uk