The growth and morphology of tribofilms, generated from zinc dialkyldithiophosphate (ZDDP) and an ashless dialkyldithiophosphate (DDP) over a wide range of rubbing times (10 seconds to 10 hours) and concentrations (0.1 to 5 wt % ZDDP), have been examined using atomic force microscopy (AFM), X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy (XPS), and X-ray absorption near edge structure (XANES) spectroscopy at the O, P and S K-edges, and the P, S, and Fe L-edges. The physical aspects of the growth and morphology of the tribofilms will be presented here (Part I) and the chemistry of the films will be discussed in (Part II).

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