In comparison of a Pt57.5Cu14.7Ni5.3P 22.5 metallic glass with a Pt(111) single crystal we find that wearless friction is determined by chemistry through bond formation alloying, while wear is determined by structure through plasticity mechanisms. In the wearless regime, friction is affected by the chemical composition of the counter body and involves the formation of a liquid-like neck and interfacial alloying. The wear behavior of Pt-based metallic surfaces is determined by their structural properties and corresponding mechanisms for plastic deformation. In the case of Pt(111) wear occurs by dislocation-mediated homogeneous plastic deformation. In contrast the wear of Pt57.5Cu14.7Ni 5.3P22.5 metallic glass occurs through localized plastic deformation in shear bands that merge together in a single shear zone above a critical load and corresponds to the shear softening of metallic glasses. These results open a new route in the control of friction and wear of metals and are relevant for the development of self-lubricated and wear-resistant mechanical devices.
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