According to a recent study, the wear of surfaces and functional components costs developed economies about 3% of GDP. There is, therefore, a significant economic driver for the mitigation of wear. This is evidenced by the high level of ongoing innovation in the field of tribology and surface engineering, including surfacing and coatings.
The economic impact and the technological diversity of wear can be illustrated by way of example:
- The wear of hip implants in physically active people leads to the need for more hip replacements and hence higher medical costs
- The wear of rolls and guides in the textile and paper industries has led to the development of oxide ceramic coatings that are wear resistant and yet do not fray fine yarns or damage smooth paper finishes
- The need for wear-resistant low friction surfaces in hot gas environments where there is no lubrication (such as piston rings) has led to the development of a variety of surface engineering solutions, including novel coatings
- Pumps and valves carrying abrasive fluids can be protected from wear by the appropriate use of HVOF coatings or weld hardfacings