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Wear-Induced Changes in the Raman, Infrared, and Fluorescence Spectra of Silicon Nitride Surfaces

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Commercial α-silicon nitride plates and balls used in simulated sliding bearing tests were found to fluoresce under 514.5-nm argon-ion laser excitation after heating to above 350 °C in a stream of argon. Wear track areas fluoresced much more intensely than their surroundings. When small concentrations of ethylene or other carbonaceous gas were added to the argon stream, carbonaceous deposits formed primarily in the wear track in amounts roughly paralleling the fluorescence intensity. Some of the deposits were lubricating carbon and some nonlubricating silicon oxycarbide. Continuous high-temperature lubrication was possible by balancing deposit removal by wear with surface-chemical deposit formation rates. Raman, infrared, fluorescence, and other spectroscopies helped explain the process. Defect energy states within the large silicon nitride energy gap and dangling bonds appear to play a role.

Keywords: Carbon; Fluorescence spectroscopy; Infrared microspectroscopy; Photoluminescence; Raman spectroscopy; Silicon nitride; Silicon oxycarbide; Surface reactivity

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1366/0003702963904692

Affiliations: Department of Applied Mechanics and Engineering Sciences (AMES), University of California, San Diego, 7622 Palmilla Drive, #78, San Diego, California 92122-5049

Publication date: November 1, 1996

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