Letter | Published:

Auger electron spectroscopy of wear surfaces

Naturevolume 266pages518519 (1977) | Download Citation



THE effectiveness of lubricants containing sulphur and/or chlorine compounds in preventing wear and seizure of steels is related to the chemical lability of the load-carrying element (sulphur, chlorine) contained in them1. This finding is consistent with the formation of surface layers of iron sulphide and chloride which prevent metal wear and seizure. Little could be deduced, however, about the nature of these protective layers. We investigate here the surface region of wear scars formed in the four-ball lubricant testing machine using Auger electron spectroscopy (AES) incorporating an argon ion sputtering technique. Here a beam of argon ions is used to etch away surface layers, and expose underlying layers for examination by AES. Using these techniques we can build up an approximate composition profile for the surface region of the sample. This was a more detailed investigation than that by Buckely2, who used AES principally to investigate changes in the surfaces of loaded disks.

Access optionsAccess options

Rent or Buy article

Get time limited or full article access on ReadCube.


All prices are NET prices.


  1. 1

    Mould, R. W., Silver, H. B. & Syrett, R. J. Wear 19, 67–80 (1972); ibid. 22, 269–286 (1972); ibid. 26, 27–37 (1973).

  2. 2

    Buckley, D. H. ASLE Trans. 17, 206–212 (1974); ibid. 17, 36–43 (1974).

Download references

Author information


  1. The British Petroleum Company Limited, BP Research Centre, Chertsey Road, Sunbury-on-Thames, Middlesex, UK

    • , R. W. MOULD
    • , H. B. SILVER
    •  & M. L. SIMS


  1. Search for J. J. MCCARROLL in:

  2. Search for R. W. MOULD in:

  3. Search for H. B. SILVER in:

  4. Search for M. L. SIMS in:

About this article

Publication history



Issue Date



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.