In order to characterize the wear particles in the test fluid with respect to their size and morphology, particle analysis according to ASTM F1877-16 [79] was performed. Two intervals of the tribometer tests (Numbers 3 and 7) of each pairing were used for analysis. The test specimens were prepared by acid digestion according to [50,80], filtered through aluminum-oxide filters with a pore-size of 0.1 µm (AnodiscTM 13, WhatmanTM, GE Healthcare Life Sciences, Amersham, UK) and analyzed using high resolution field emission gun scanning electron microscopy (FEG-SEM, LEO 1530, Leo, Oberkochen, Germany) at a magnification of ×10,000. For particle analysis, digital image software (Particleanalyzed_HD, LBI, Heidelberg, Germany) was used [81]. Two filtrations were carried out per interval of each group and three images were made per filter. The analyzed parameters were equivalent circle diameter (ECD), aspect ratio (AR) and roundness (R). In order to detect any changes in the particle characteristics over time, the results of Interval 3 were compared to the results of Interval 7 using a t-test for dependent groups. Interval 7 represented the phase after the run-in and was used for group comparison. Therefore, an ANOVA for independent testing and a Bonferroni post-hoc analysis was performed.

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