Surface folding is a recently discovered unsteady plastic flow mode in metal sliding, caused by microstructure-related spatial heterogeneity. In this work, we simulate a wedge sliding against a metallic specimen with a single, near-surface inhomogeneity or pseudograin, representative of unit asperity–grain interactions. The inhomogeneity is either plastically softer or harder than the surrounding substrate and is perfectly bonded to it. Remarkably, this simple model is able to reproduce numerous experimentally observed aspects of unsteady sliding, including the development of bumps and depressions on the prow, surface self-contact (fold) formation and the development of crack-like damage features on the residual surface. It is found that a hard inhomogeneity causes surface depressions, while a soft inhomogeneity causes surface bumps. Both features develop into folds, and subsequently, crack-like damage features. The model also reproduces the effects of sliding incidence angle, friction and size of inhomogeneity on the sliding response. The propensity to bump and fold formation decreases on increasing the depth at which the inhomogeneity is embedded. Analysis reveals that plastic buckling is a plausible mechanism for the development of perturbations on the surface of the prow. The present model differs from the classical triboplastic models of Oxley and Torrance mainly by way of the added inhomogeneity and is a minimal model to produce folding and associated damage in a single sliding pass. Implications for wear and deformation processing are discussed.
Tribology Letters – Springer Journals
Published: Aug 22, 2017
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