Hydrogen is expected as a clean and renewable energy carrier for future environment-friendly society. Many machine elements in hydrogen energy systems should be operating within hydrogen gas and tribological behavior, such as friction and wear, of bearings and seals are affected by the hydrogen environment through some interactions between material surfaces and gaseous hydrogen, i.e., physisorption of hydrogen molecules and following chemisorptions of dissociated atoms on metal surfaces, formation of metal hydride and reduction of metal oxide layer by hydrogen atoms diffused into bulk. Therefore, friction and wear characteristics of tribomaterials in the hydrogen environment should be appropriately understood to establish a design guideline for reliable hydrogen utilizing systems. This paper reviews the current knowledge about the effect of hydrogen on friction and wear of materials, and then describes our recent progress of hydrogen research in the tribology field.
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