To verify the tribo-microplasma concept proposed by Nakayama, who suggested that a microplasma is generated in the gap of a sliding contact due to electrical discharge of the ambient gas in the electric field caused by tribo-charging, we challenged to observe directly the tribo-microplasma and to measure spectral characteristics of the emitted photons. In experiments to observe plasma image (with a diamond hemispherical pin sliding on a sapphire disk) it was found that the plasma was generated in the several micrometer gap of the sliding contact. The plasma had a shape of an ellipse with a tail, surrounding the contact and spread to the rear of the sliding contact. The plasma image observed through the UV transmittable filter (UV image) had a horseshoe pattern, while the IR image had a shape of a ring on the ellipse. The strongest UV emission was observed in the center of the horseshoe pattern outside the sliding contact, while the IR photon image showed that the most intense emission occurred at the sliding contact. The electrical discharge origin of the photon triboemission was proved by comparing spectra of tribophotons with spectra of photons emitted from plasma by electrical discharge in parallel electrodes in various gases. The results showed that the spectra of photons emitted from the sliding contact and those of gas-discharge completely coincided for all gases tested, i.e., dry air, He, and except peaks originated from the excited atoms of the sliding surfaces. It was concluded that microplasma is produced by electrical breakdown of ambient gas at sliding contact. These results corroborate the tribomicroplasma concept.
Characteristics and Pattern of Plasma Generated at Sliding Contact
Contributed by the Tribology Division for publication in the ASME JOURNAL OF TRIBOLOGY. Manuscript received by the Tribology Division March 27, 2002; revised manuscript received November 7, 2002. Associate Editor: M. D. Bryant.
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Nakayama , K., and Nevshupa, R. A. (September 25, 2003). "Characteristics and Pattern of Plasma Generated at Sliding Contact ." ASME. J. Tribol. October 2003; 125(4): 780–787. https://doi.org/10.1115/1.1540122
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