Surface Roughness of Steel Balls For Tribological Testing Measured Using Atomic Force Microscopes From NanoSurf

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AFM Surface Parameter Measurements


As surfaces for bearing technology become more and more smooth, conventional techniques such as laser or stylus profilometry come to their limits for determining surface quality. But slight differences in surface roughness and structure of bearing components are found to have immense influence on component life and performance.

AFM Surface Parameter Measurements

Therefore AFM measurements are used to assess surface quality parameters such as roughness parameters and nanoscale surface structures.

The images shown below demonstrate that surface quality of steel balls for wear testing still varies widely depending on the manufacturer. While on the left the surface is structured by open pores indicating inferior material quality, the right hand image shows a smooth surface as demanded by high performance applications.

Mean surface roughness Sa is 21nm and 6nm, respectively and both balls were sold as the same quality standard.

Figure 1. Steel ball surface testing, 50x50um image, z-range: 150nm, diameter of ball: 6mm

Source: Nanosurf

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