Research on sliding friction and wear of metals has involved studies of subsurface microstructural deformation. This paper considers the difficulties of measuring deformation and analyzing the implications of such studies on several bases: (1) defining the physical extent of sliding-induced deformation, (2) making appropriate measurements of deformation for complex tribological conditions, and (3) correlating microstructural wear damage with the measurable friction forces on sliding contacts. Data for unlubricated block-on-ring tests of Cu and 1020 steel on 4619 steel are used to demonstrate limitations and correlations possible with metallographic studies in tribology.

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