Radionuclide methods for wear measurement are used to measure wear continuously throughout a tribological experiment at a resolution of nanometers or micrograms per hour. This article presents an overview of radionuclide methods for wear measurement. It discusses complementary wear measurement methods to introduce the advantages of using radioactive isotopes (RI) for wear or corrosion measurements in comparison to other methods. The article provides information on radiation safety regulations and approaches to minimize external radiation exposure. It describes neutron activation, thin layer or surface layer activation, and ultrathin layer or recoil activation that are used to create radioactive isotopes in the samples to be tested. The article reviews the two common types of wear measurement setup configurations: the direct method and the indirect method. It concludes with a discussion on the practical application of wear measurement using radioactive isotopes.
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