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On the Laws and Theories of Sliding Friction

[+] Author Affiliations
Nannaji Saka

Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, MA

Paper No. IMECE2015-51470, pp. V015T19A036; 11 pages
  • ASME 2015 International Mechanical Engineering Congress and Exposition
  • Volume 15: Advances in Multidisciplinary Engineering
  • Houston, Texas, USA, November 13–19, 2015
  • Conference Sponsors: ASME
  • ISBN: 978-0-7918-5758-8
  • Copyright © 2015 by ASME


The many seminal contributions made by Professor Nam P. Suh to the theories of wear, such as the delamination wear and the solution wear, are well known. The contributions made by him and his associates to the theories of friction, however, are less known; but they are equally significant. In this article, I first briefly survey, to provide an historical context, the laws and theories of sliding friction as proposed over the past centuries and decades. Then the contributions of Prof. Suh and his associates in recent decades are reviewed. Specifically, the role of wear particles in the frictional phenomena of dry and boundary-lubricated sliding is examined. A novel concept of undulating, or patterned, surfaces has been advanced to minimize friction in both dry and boundary-lubricated sliding. The undulating surfaces trap wear debris and thus minimize plowing friction in dry sliding, above the transition temperature in boundary-lubricated sliding, and even in hydrodynamic bearings during start/stop operations. The concept is especially appropriate for heavily loaded tribological systems with tighter clearances in which the likelihood of seizure is imminent.

Copyright © 2015 by ASME



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