WEAR AND EROSION TESTS have traditionally been used by materials engineers and scientists to optimize materials selection or development for a given application. Standardization, repeatability, convenience, short testing time, and simple measuring and ranking techniques are desirable in these tests. Currently, more demanding and complex methods of wear testing are being used by mechanical and reliability engineers to determine wear parameters that can project performance and establish the influence of various factors on these parameters.

Wear is closely related to friction and lubrication. The study of these three subjects is known as tribology. The apparatus used for one tribological test can frequently be used for another, but friction, wear, and lubrication are distinct phenomena, and test procedures and interpretations vary. For example, a lubricant test evaluates the ability of a lubricant to withstand temperature, speed, or load and still provide protection against wear. The degree or amount of wear is a measure of lubricant response. In contrast, the area of interest in a wear test, which can be conducted lubricated or dry, is the wear response of the material.

No general-purpose wear test exists that can establish a unique wear parameter or rating of a material. Consequently, a general discussion of wear testing must encompass overall methodology. This article presents a brief review of wear testing methods. Detailed information about significant wear mechanisms, tribological phenomena, and test methods appear in Friction, Lubrication, and Wear Technology, Volume 18 of the ASM Handbook, and in the article "Wear Testing" in Mechanical Testing, Volume 8 of the ASM Handbook.

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