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Evaluating frictional and wear characteristics of very thin nanostructured layers with macro scale tribometers, in the Newton load range, can create unrealistic conditions. Wear phenomena are highly dependent on the contact conditions: such high loads are not relevant in the case of MEMS. The adhesive and capillary components that contribute to friction, in a micro-contact, can not be simulated with high load devices. Therefore, there is an increasing need to use new tribological testers and procedures to obtain a better understanding of surface interactions on an appropriate scale.
One of the main issues in the watch industry is reduce the friction and sticking between moving components. To achieve this, a small quantity of lubricant is added in the contact. However, due to the high expectations of the costumers, the increased lifetime of the watch, the size and geometry of components and contact conditions (loads in the mN range), there is a huge need to develop a tool that can evaluate such lubricating tribo-systems. The main challenge is to perform precision frictional measurements, in conditions that simulate the “actual” application.