Friction and wear are usually viewed as irreversible processes, which lead to energy dissipation (friction) and material deterioration (wear). On the other hand, it is known that under certain circumstances frictional sliding can provide mechanisms for the spatial and temporal pattern-formation (self-organization). We discuss the contact mechanics aspects of the pattern-formation and suggest quantitative metrics and criteria for this effect including the stability criteria for the transition from the steady-state sliding to pattern-formation.

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