The contact mechanisms of a transfer layered surface during sliding wear of a Si3N4 ball against the amorphous carbon film were investigated. In this study, amorphous carbon films were deposited by electron cyclotron resonance plasma sputtering technique. The dependence of friction coefficient and wear life of the films on transfer layer was tested with pin-on-disk tribometer. Wear tracks and the transfer layered surfaces at different friction coefficient stages were observed with scanning electron microscope and measured with energy dispersive spectrometer In order to clarify the contact mechanisms of a transfer layered surface, three contact models of initial high friction coefficient stage without transfer layer (state I), transfer layer forming stage with friction coefficient decreasing (state II), and transfer layered surface stable sliding stage with low friction coefficient (state III) were proposed, and the contact stresses (normal stress, shear stress, von Mises stress) of the three contact states were calculated by using finite element analysis. The results demonstrated that a transfer layer formed at the contact interface and gradually decreased the maximum contact stresses, which contributed to the long wear life of amorphous carbon films.

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