The concept of the optimal wearpath is helpful in determining the geometrical formation of the wear scar due to repeated contact loading. By definition it is that shape which alleviates the critical contact failure parameter(s) the fastest way. In the present paper the mathematical formalism is set forth for the ensuing optimization problem. The general prescription for formulating a wear law for a specific application (sliding, rolling, impact, and hybrids) is to combine the wear mechanism with the optimal wearpath. Examples for impact wear are presented, using both macroscopic and microscopic wear models.

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