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Gaseous contaminants modify the friction and wear response of precious metal electrical contact alloys

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2 Author(s)
Pope, L.E. ; Sandia Nat. Lab., Albuquerque, NM, USA ; Peebles, D.E.

An in situ electrical contact resistance and friction coefficient measuring device has been installed in a scanning Auger microprobe. A pin-on-plate experimental configuration is used. This tribology system has been used to characterize the friction, wear, and electrical contact resistance of a Pd-alloy pin (ASTM B540) sliding on an Au-alloy plate (ASTM B541). Studies, with and without H2S in the atmosphere, of wear in 1.6×10-6-Torr O2, 700-Torr 5% O 2 in N2, and 700-Torr He are reported. The presence of H2S reduces the friction coefficient and decreases the wear track width on the Au alloy. The lower friction is associated with absorption and reaction of the H2S with the Au-alloy plate. In the ambients containing H2S, large accumulations of S in wear tracks are observed; however, no increase in the electrical contact resistance occurs. In the 700-Torr ambients containing H2S, Cu segregates to the wear track surfaces to the exclusion of other metallic elements and forms Cu2S layers. A concomitant shift occurs in the S and Cu Auger peak positions when the Cu2S film thickens

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Components, Hybrids, and Manufacturing Technology, IEEE Transactions on  (Volume:11 ,  Issue: 1 )