Radioactive Tracers in the Study of Friction and Lubrication


WHEN one metal slides over another, a measure of the amount of metal transferred from one surface to the other will give an indication of the amount of metallic adhesion occurring during sliding. Bowden and Moore1, using an electrographic analysis method, were able to detect quantities of copper transferred from a slider on to a platinum surface of the order of 10â-7 gm./mm.2. Using a radioactive flat surface, Sackmann, Burwell and Irvine2 measured, by means of a Geiger counter, the pick-up on a small spherical slider. More detailed information has been obtained in this laboratory by using a small radioactive slider and obtaining a contact photograph of the resulting track on a flat metal surface by means of a photographic plate placed directly on it.

Access options

Rent or Buy article

Get time limited or full article access on ReadCube.


All prices are NET prices.


  1. 1

    Bowden and Moore, Nature, 155, 451 (1945).

  2. 2

    Sackmann, Burwell and Irvine, J. App. Phys., 15, 459 (1944).

  3. 3

    Bowden and Leben, Proc. Roy. Soc., A, 169, 371 (1939)

Download references

Author information

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Cite this article

GREGORY, J. Radioactive Tracers in the Study of Friction and Lubrication. Nature 157, 443–444 (1946).

Download citation

Further reading


By submitting a comment you agree to abide by our Terms and Community Guidelines. If you find something abusive or that does not comply with our terms or guidelines please flag it as inappropriate.