Wear in metals is the collective deformation of micrometer roughness on both sides of the contact pair. We use a diamond nanoindenter tip with micrometer asperity radius on a metal surface to mimic one side of the contact pair of engineering surfaces and to fundamentally study wear at the micrometer scale. A further understanding of the microscale mechanisms allows to create wear-resistant surfaces in the future.
This contribution investigates single-stroke plastic deformation in copper and aluminum. To this end, we execute experiments and study the spread of plasticity in the neighborhood of the scratch by electron backscatter diffraction (EBSD). In addition, we execute finite element method (FEM) based elastic-plastic simulations to understand the plastic domain and to quantify the plastic strain. By comparing the EBSD and FEM results, we investigate the applicability of local FEM based theories for microtribology applications and discuss further numerical improvements. Moreover, we investigate the local heating the the contact zone by quantifying the plastic and elastic energy densities.