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Mechanisms of Wear and Basic Characteristics

TECH TIP – Basic Characteristics and Mechanisms of Wear


Definition of Mechanisms of Wear. Wear is the continuous damage process of surfaces, which are usually in contact and typically in movement. It is the inevitable result of friction. The failure of a mechanical component occurs in three ways: wear, fatigue and corrosion. Among them, wear is the most significant, contributing about 60-80%. Because it is such a large cause of failure, it is beneficial to understand the types of wear, which can help lead to what caused the failure in the first place.


Characterizing wear can be tricky, but if you know what to look for it can tell you a lot about what’s happening in a machine. The most fundamental wear mechanisms are listed below, with typical causes and results.

wear mechanism





If you are able to identify the wear mechanism based on visual inspection or other testing, you may be able to avoid future events by making adjustments to the operation itself, or the lubricant being used. Always consult the OEM for lubricant recommendations, and reach out to a Petro-Canada Lubricants Technical Advisor for help in selecting the appropriate fluid.
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