Nanomechanical properties of aluminum 390-T6 rough surfaces undergoing tribological testing Academic Article uri icon


  • The nanoindentation technique was used to quantify nano-scale changes in material properties (effective elastic modulus and hardness) of Al390-T6 samples that have undergone tribological testing under a protocol in a high-pressure tribometer where the applied normal load was step-wise increased until failure by scuffing occurred. The test was highly repeatable, so additional tests were run to three intermediate fractions of the total-time-to-scuffing-failure, which provided data on the progressive wear of the surfaces preparatory to reaching the scuffed condition. The samples were engineering surfaces with significant surface roughness, nonhomogeneous surface microstructure and unknown, nonuniform surface layers. This study demonstrated that nanomechanical techniques can be extended to characterize the material properties of rough engineering surfaces. For the samples subjected to tribological testing, the material at the surface, and to approximately 60 nm below the surface, exhibited significantly higher hardness than the bulk material. Also, progressive wear of the surfaces resulted in a corresponding weakening of the near-surface material below the surface to a depth of 60 nm, while the hardness of material below the 60 nm depth remained relatively unchanged. The hardness data for the scuffed samples showed a large amount of scatter in the data, indicating that the surface is not homogeneous and that the protective surface layer is removed, at least at some points on the surface.

published proceedings


author list (cited authors)

  • Pergande, S. R., Polycarpou, A. A., & Conry, T. F.

citation count

  • 30

complete list of authors

  • Pergande, SR||Polycarpou, AA||Conry, TF

publication date

  • July 2004