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Corrosion and wear at the nanoscale

Materials degradation due to wear and corrosion is a major issue that can lead to efficiency loss or even failure. As wear may accelerate corrosion and corrosion may accelerate wear, this interaction is of increasing interest in the wind, hydroelectric, oil and gas energy domains and in the bio-medical field.

Wear beginning of the wear track in a metallic glass: the motion of the microasperity is upward.

Our aim is to gain fundamental insight into tribology processes under different environmental conditions.

The mechanical aspects are addressed by nanoscratching, for instance, crystalline model alloys or amorphous steels (see picture), where normal and lateral forces and displacements are recorded. The same materials are comparatively tested under chemically or electrochemically active conditions using a custom-made electrochemical cell, designed for in-situ tests.

Post analysis by scanning electron microscopy (SEM), atomic force microscopy (AFM) and atom probe tomography (APT) or transmission electron microscopy (TEM) help to better understand the environmental influence on the material deformation mechanisms.

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