This work presents a meta-analysis that compares the suitability of various parameters used to characterize wettability in tribological systems. It also examines the relationship between wettability and the friction factor for multiple lubricant-surface pairings. The characterization of wetting behavior was similar when using the contact angle between a lubricant and surface and various dimensional and dimensionless formulations of a spreading parameter. It was possible to identify hydrodynamic, boundary, and mixed lubrication regimes by combining a dimensionless wettability parameter with the specific film thickness for a variety of neat ionic liquids and magnetorheological fluids in contact with metallic, thermoplastic, and elastic surfaces. This characterization was possible using multiple dimensionless wettability parameters, but those that can be fully determined using only the contact angle may be preferred by experimentalists. The use of dimensional and dimensionless wettability parameters that included polar and disperse components of surface tension and surface energy did not appear to provide additional insight into the wettability or frictional performance for the tribological system examined here.
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