Sliding friction experiments were conducted with various iron-base alloys (alloying elements were Ti, Cr, Mn, Ni, Rh, and W) in contact with a single-crystal silicon carbide (0001) surface in vacuum. Results indicate atomic size misfit and concentration of alloying elements play a dominant role in controlling adhesion, friction, and wear properties of iron-base binary alloys. The controlling mechanism of the alloy properties is as an intrinsic effect involving the resistance to shear fracture of cohesive bonding in the alloy. The coefficient of friction generally increases with an increase in solute concentration. The coefficient of friction increases as the solute-to-iron atomic radius ratio increases or decreases from unity. Alloys having higher solute concentration produce more transfer to silicon carbide than do alloys having low solute concentrations. The chemical activity of the alloying element is also an important parameter in controlling adhesion and friction of alloys.

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