The tribological behaviours of conventional nickel with a grain size of 20±5 μm and nanocrystalline (nc) nickel with a grain size of 15±3 nm were compared. A pin-on-disc tribometer was employed for the friction and wear measurements under unlubricated conditions in ambient air with ∼35% relative humidity. As the grain size was decreased to the nanometer size, a reduction of about 18% was observed in the peak value of coefficient of friction (COF), but the steady-state COF remained almost unchanged. Also it was shown that the wear rate of nc nickel was about 82% lower than that of conventional nickel at 2 N load. This behaviour is mainly attributed to considerable reduction in plastic deformation and microplowing due to increased hardness.

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