Triboscopy, a new approach to surface degradations of thin films
The microscopic description of an interface and its degradations under sliding give access to phenomena involved in wear processes. More precisely, on a length scale of 10−3–10−6 m, many different mechanisms can occur: formation of scratches and cracks, deformation, emission of debris, their recirculation and reattachment etc. This information is particularly important for knowledge of the resistance of a coated material subjected to wear. We have developed a new method based on the coupling of a tribometer and a numerical image processor, here called “triboscopy”. Its major interest is the synthetic representation of the behaviour of an interface during reciprocating sliding, using one datum or several data from the test. We present the first results obtained on two different polymer-coated surfaces. We show the different degradation modes occurring and how these are demonstrated by the triboscopic images.