For the first time, a new method of scanning wear has been developed to expose and observe microstructural features of heterogeneous materials, and is presented in this paper. Experimental results of scanning wear of two computer hard disks with DLC protecting layers are also reported. These two applications have proven that scanning wear, as a unique format of wear caused by raster scanning a probe against its counterpart surface under controlled light load, is a very useful and powerful tool for tribological and microstructual investigations of materials at micro/nano scales. The further exploration and application of scanning wear is recommended.

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