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Keywords:

  • surfaces and interfaces;
  • friction;
  • wear and lubrication;
  • mechanical properties;
  • microscopy;
  • properties and characterization

ABSTRACT

We review contact mechanics with emphasis on the rheological (time dependent) properties of polymers and their relations to surface roughness, material properties, and friction as well as wear behavior of rubbing polymer surfaces. The main concept of polymer mechanics related to tribology consists of three basic elements involved in friction: deformation resulting in the real area of contact of rough surfaces, contact adhesion, and shear and rupture of materials in the contact during the sliding friction. The results of classical work are included, which addresses the real contact area calculation and the description of adhesion interaction between rough surfaces. A brief review of experimental investigations concerning the surface characterization by means of bearing curves, the intermolecular force interaction using the adhesion parameter, the effect of temperature on the real contact area, the formation of transferred polymer film during friction, and tribological behavior of ultrathin polymer layers are presented and their implications discussed. © 2013 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. J. Appl. Polym. Sci. 2014, 131, 39870.