This study deals with the micro-wear mechanisms of polyamide materials under reciprocating sliding conditions. Using the resources of in situ contact visualisation through transparent sapphire counterfaces, third body formation and flow processes have been monitored as a function of the sliding amplitude. Under confined contact conditions, the stabilization of coherent third body compacts with distinct microstructural properties was found to have a profound effect on the displacement of wear debris from the contact and on the ultimate wear resistance of the polyamide materials.

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