The key role of a liquid lubricant is to form a separating film and thereby limit direct contact between asperities on opposing, solid, rubbing surfaces. If the film thus formed has lower shear strength than the asperity conjunctions, it will reduce friction. Liquid lubricant films will also generally produce a reduction in damage accumulation and thus wear of the solid surfaces via a number of different mechanisms. These include prevention of adhesive or abrasive contact between asperities, smoothing of contact stress distribution across the contact and accommodation of third body, solid particles such as wear debris within the film.
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