Artificially fabricated surface textures can significantly improve the friction and wear resistance of a tribological contact. Recently, this surface texturing technique has been applied to polymer materials to improve their tribological performance. However, the wear behavior of textured tribo-pairs made of steel and polymer materials has been less thoroughly investigated and is not well understood; thus, it needs further research. The aim of this study is to investigate the wear properties of tribological contacts made of textured stainless steel against polymer surfaces. Three polymer materials were selected in this study, namely, ultrahigh molecular weight polyethylene (UHMWPE), polyoxymethylene (POM) and (polyetheretherketone) PEEK. Wear tests were operated through a ring-on-plane mode. The results revealed that the texture features and material properties affected the wear rates and friction coefficients of the textured tribo-pairs. In general, PEEK/textured steel achieved the lowest wear rate among the three types of tribo-pairs investigated. Energy dispersive x-ray spectroscopy (EDX) analysis revealed that the elements of C and O on the contacting counterfaces varied with texture features and indicated different wear behavior. Experimental and simulated results showed differences in the stress distribution around the dimple edge, which may influence wear performance. Wear debris with different surface morphologies were found for tribo-pairs with varying texture features. This study has increased the understanding of the wear behavior of tribo-pairs between textured stainless steel and polymer materials.
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