In dry sliding conditions, polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE) composites can form thin, uniform, and protective transfer films on hard, metallic counterfaces that may play a significant role in friction and wear control. Qualitative characterizations of transfer film morphology, composition, and adhesion to the counterface suggest they are all good predictors of friction and, particularly, wear performance. However, a lack of quantitative transfer film characterization methods and uncertainty regarding specific mechanisms of friction and wear control make definitive conclusions about causal relationships between transfer film and tribological properties difficult. This paper reviews the state of the art in the solid lubricant transfer film literature and highlights recent advances in quantitative characterization thereof.
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