What is fretting corrosion?

Fretting is the action of two metal surfaces rubbing against each other, resulting in mechanical damage. Fretting could occur where the two surfaces were not designed to move relative to each other, or in the presence of vibration, or on the extremities of rotating components where there is a relative speed differential between the two surfaces. This relative movement can result in light burnishing or polishing of the surface, through to heavier gouging or grooving in extreme circumstances, usually where the loads between components is much higher.

Fretting corrosion is a combination of fretting and corrosion, which acting in tandem can exacerbate the impact of a single process. The passive film that protects stainless steels, nickel alloys and copper alloys from corrosion will be removed by the fretting action. This exposes fresh, unprotected metal which is therefore more likely to corrode. The continuous combination of fretting and corrosive conditions will ultimately lead to the removal of significant quantities of metal, as the process repeats itself over and over.

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