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Last updated: June 2, 2018

What Does Tribocorrosion Mean?

Tribocorrosion is the irreversible alteration of a metal's subsurface layers brought about by mechanical and chemical interactions due to friction contact within a corrosive environment. It includes synergistic reactions among chemical, mechanical and electrochemical processes wherein metal loses are attributed to simple mechanical wear or corrosion.

In simple terms, it is the process of material degradation due to the combined effects of wear and corrosion. The term tribocorrosion presents the fundamental disciplines of corrosion and tribology.


Corrosionpedia Explains Tribocorrosion

Tribology is a branch of science that focuses on the study of friction, wear and lubrication. In this process, corrosion is related to the electrochemical, chemical and mechanical interaction between a metal and the environment. It is a comparatively new area of research, but this phenomenon has been in existence since the presence of installations and machines.

Wear is described as a mechanical degradation of a material that takes place on impacting or rubbing surfaces, while corrosion is comprised of electrochemical or chemical material reactions. Both of these processes may accelerate each other, thus there is corrosion hastened by wear and the other way around. These, along with fretting corrosion which is the outcome of oscillations in between connecting surfaces, account for tribocorrosion. Corrosion caused by erosion is another example of the tribocorrosion phenomenon, as it involves chemical and mechanical effects on fluids that cause erosion to solid layers through abrasion and impacting particles.

Degradation of material due to instantaneous mechanical and chemical effects may take place under various conditions which may include corrosion interaction with:

  • Cavitation erosion
  • Abrasion
  • Solid particle erosion
  • Solutions

Tribocorrosion is a phenomenon that is faced by different applications and can result in:

  • Material loss
  • Reduced reliability
  • Reduced durability
  • Reduced energy efficiency
  • Reduced safety performance
  • Increased health hazards
  • Increased pollution

Different industries that may be affected by tribocorrosion include:

  • Petrochemical and chemical
  • Nuclear process
  • Material handling
  • Aerospace
  • Marine
  • Food
  • Automotive
  • Biomedical
  • Offshore industries

Tribocorrosion can also affect living systems, as it can cause damage to restorative dentistry, prostheses and other devices, which in turn can affect life quality and overall health.


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