A conceptual framework is introduced for the design of tool surface topographies in bulk metal forming processes. The objective of the design is to control friction to desired levels while minimizing wear of the workpiece and tool surfaces and adhesive metal transfer between the workpiece and tool. Central to the design framework are the tool/workpiece interface properties of lubricant retention and interface permeability. Lubricant retention refers to the capacity of an interface to retain lubricant rather than freely channel it to the exterior of the tool/workpiece conjunction. Permeability refers to the capacity to distribute lubricant to all areas within the conjunction. These properties lead to the concept of two-scale surface topography consisting of a fine scale background of interconnected channels on which is superimposed an array of coarser-scale cavities. Control of friction and wear is achieved by designing the tool surface topographies at these two scales to address the unique tribological conditions of specific bulk metal forming processes. The coarser scale is designed to ensure adequate supply of lubricant within the conjunction. The finer scale is designed to ensure adequate delivery of lubricant to all parts of the conjunction where nascent workpiece surface is being formed. The design concepts are illustrated with results from laboratory experiments using the rolling process as an example, and comparing the performance of various roll surface topographies under similar processing conditions. A two-scale surface topography consisting of hemispherical cavities distributed across a background surface of finer scale, interconnected channels was shown to reduce friction compared to a single-scale ground finish, but not as much as a single-scale coarse topography consisting of densely-packed cavities produced by an electrical discharge treatment. On the other hand, the smoother cross-sections of the cavities, especially when elongated in the direction of greatest relative motion, produced significantly less wear than either of the single-scale tool surface treatments. It is concluded that two-scale engineering of tool surface topographies based upon the concepts of lubricant retention and interface permeability can provide a broad basis for achieving desired levels of interface friction while minimizing workpiece surface wear and adhesive material transfer in many metal-forming processes.

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