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Plastics or polymers are used in a variety of engineering and nonengineering applications where they are subjected to surface damage and wear. This article discusses the classification of polymer wear mechanisms based on the methodologies of defining the types of wear. The first classification is based on the two-term model that divides wear mechanisms into interfacial and bulk or cohesive. The second is based on the perceived wear mechanism. The third classification is specific to polymers and draws the distinction based on mechanical properties of polymers. In this classification, wear study is separated as elastomers, thermosets, glassy thermoplastics, and semicrystalline thermoplastics. The article describes the effects of environment and lubricant on the wear failures of polymers. It presents a case study on nylon as a tribological material. The article explains the wear failure of an antifriction bearing, a nylon driving gear, and a polyoxymethylene gear wheel.

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