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The erosion of metals



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Andrews, David Richard 


The study of the erosion of metallic surfaces by solid particles has been an area of dispute recently (1980) especially concerning the importance of target melting as a mechanism for the removal of material. In addition, erosion by particles at a normal angle of impingement has remained unexplained and there has been no satisfactory theory of erosion which has taken into account the statistical nature of erosion, that is, the continual bombardment of a surface by a large number of eroding particles. This work concentrates on the foregoing aspects of erosion. Apparatus is described which is capable of producing erosion by single impact and continual bombardment. Conditions conducive to target melting are discussed and under equivalent experimental conditions target melting is deduced to have occurred. The statistical nature of erosion has been approached from two directions:

  1. The importance of the shapes of eroding particles.
  2. Considering the influence of the erosive flux on the temperature of the target and resulting erosion rate. Material removal by single impacts at normal impingement has been observed using high-speed photography.


This thesis was converted by the author from a hard-back (paper) book into an electronic document in February and March 2015 for inclusion in the University of Cambridge's on-line library, so that a wider public may gain access to it. The following changes have also been made:

  • Re-formatting; the greatest change to appearance by far.
  • In a very few places one or two words were found to be missing from the original thesis and these have been added.
  • A new, short section on historical context has been added to the section titled Importance of Erosion.
  • One reference error has been corrected.
  • In one equation the explanation of variables has been changed to reflect convention.
  • The title of one chapter has been altered by adding a few words; to reflect a discussion with one of the examiners of the thesis in 1980.
  • Equation numbers have been altered to include the chapter in which they are first created.
  • Generally, shortened terms like: E.g. and viz have been converted to prose.
  • In several places the use of inverted commas around words to indicate some special or unusual context has been replaced with italic letters, to conform to popular use; italic letters were not readily available the original thesis was typed. The changes above were made to improve readability of the electronic thesis and have not in any way changed the scientific content





Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Awarding Institution

University of Cambridge