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This article considers the main characteristics of wear mechanisms and how they can be identified. Some identification examples are reported, with the warning that this task can be difficult because of the presence of disturbing factors such as contaminants or possible additional damage of the worn products after the tribological process. Then, the article describes some examples of wear processes, considering possible transitions and/or interactions of the mechanism of fretting wear, rolling-sliding wear, abrasive wear, and solid-particle erosion wear. The role of tribological parameters on the material response is presented using the wear map concept, which is very useful and informative in several respects. The article concludes with guidelines for the selection of suitable surface treatments to avoid wear failures.

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