The focus of this work is wafer retaining rings and their impact on chemical mechanical planarization (CMP) process stability, yield, and overall cost of ownership (CoO). The study looks at various CMP retaining ring materials and processing methods. Tribological investigations as well as wafer processing are critical to understand the retaining ring and polishing pad environment. Interactions at the ring/pad interface have a major effect on the planarization and defectivity of a polished wafer. Shear and normal forces at this interface, as well as temperature and lubrication regimes, were monitored to establish an empirical model. All process conditions equal, the material properties of retaining rings govern the coefficient of friction (COF) in the ring and pad contact area. Present study demonstrates a lower COF to be an indicator of extended ring lifetime, decreasing WTWNU and removal rate (RR) variation. The study correlates the findings on wafer level data from high volume manufacturing fabs with empirical data generated using applications lab tribological equipment to understand the on-wafer performance as a function of retaining ring material. The study's further aim is to understand for specific applications, the material interactions on-wafer using various retaining ring materials. CMP process optimization can be attained with a better understanding of retaining ring design and material characteristics, as well as polishing head and slurry parameters.