The wear and friction characteristics of zirconium-ion-implanted AISI D3 tool steel have been investigated using pin-on-disc methods. Ion implantation was carried out using a vacuum-arc-based ion implanter to form multicharged zirconium ion beams at a mean ion energy of 130 keV, and the implantation doses investigated were approximately 3.6 x 10(16) 5 x 10(16) and 1 x 10(17) ions cm(-2). It was found that Zr implantation decreased both the wear and the coefficient of friction. The beneficial effects of Zr implantation in terms of associated Auger electron spectroscopy, Rutherford backscattering spectroscopy and scanning electron microscopy microprobe analyses are described. (c) 2006 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.