In this study, we explored the effects of water and oxygen molecules on friction and wear of diamond-like carbon (DLC) films. Specifically, using Raman and x-ray photoelectron spectroscopies we attempted to analyze the near surface chemistry and microstructure of sliding contact surfaces and correlated these findings with changes in friction and wear of DLC films. Tribological tests were run in a ball-on-disk machine under 2 to 5 N loads and in dry and moist nitrogen and oxygen environments. Based on the tribological and surface analytical findings, a mechanistic explanation is provided for the high friction and wear of DLC in dry and humid oxygen environments.

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