The production of nanocrystalline wear debris containing components from the worn specimen, from the counterface and from the environment does not support any of the better known wear models or wear equations based on adhesion, delamination, fatigue or oxidation. In this presentation, plastic deformation, mechanical mixing and patterns of flow determined from experiments will be compared with molecular dynamics (MD) simulations and a continuum analysis of two ‘fluids’ shearing in opposite directions. Together, these suggest generic behavior that needs to be included in any realistic sliding wear model.

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