Multiscale study of the dynamic friction coefficient due to asperity plowing


A macroscopically nominal flat surface is rough at the nanoscale level and consists of nanoasperities. Therefore, the frictional properties of the macroscale-level rough surface are determined by the mechanical behaviors of nanoasperity contact pairs under shear. In this work, we first used molecular dynamics simulations to study the non-adhesive shear between single contact pairs. Subsequently, to estimate the friction coefficient of rough surfaces, we implemented the frictional behavior of a single contact pair into a Greenwood-Williamson-type statistical model. By employing the present multiscale approach, we used the size, rate, and orientation effects, which originated from nanoscale dislocation plasticity, to determine the dependence of the macroscale friction coefficient on system parameters, such as the surface roughness, separation, loading velocity, and direction. Our model predicts an unconventional dependence of the friction coefficient on the normal contact load, which has been observed in nanoscale frictional tests. Therefore, this model represents one step toward understanding some of the relevant macroscopic phenomena of surface friction at the nanoscale level.


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This work was supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (Nos. 11802310 and 11772334), the Youth Innovation Promotion Association CAS (No. 2018022), and by the Strategic Priority Research Program of the Chinese Academy of Sciences (No. XDB22040501). HS and SS acknowledge financial support from the European Research Council through the ERC Grant Agreement No. 759419 MuDiLingo (“A Multiscale Dislocation Language for Data-Driven Materials Science”).

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Correspondence to Hengxu Song or Xiaoming Liu.

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Jianqiao HU. He received his bachelor and Ph.D. degrees in engineering mechanics from Tsinghua University, China, in 2012 and 2017, respectively. He currently works as an assistant research fellow in the State Key Laboratory of Nonlinear Mechanics, Institute of Mechanics, Chinese Academy of Sciences. His research interests include the multiscale study of contact, friction, and wear.

Hengxu SONG. He received his bachelor degree in engineering mechanics in 2010 from Tongji University, and master degree in solid mechanics in 2012 from Tsinghua University, and Ph.D. degree in applied physics from University of Groningen, the Netherlands. He currently works as a postdoc research fellow in Institute for Advanced Simulation, IAS-9: Materials Data Science and Informatics Forschungszentrum Juelich GmbH, Germany. His research interests include multiscale modelling, micromechanics of materials, contact mechanics, friction, and dislocation plasticity.

Xiaoming LIU. He received his bachelor degree in engineering mechanics from Xi’an Jiaotong University in 2003. Then, he obtained Ph.D. degree in engineering mechanics from Tsinghua University in 2008. He is currently a full professor in the State Key Laboratory of Nonlinear Mechanics, Institute of Mechanics, Chinese Academy of Sciences. His current research focuses on how the microscale plasticity and size effect change the sliding of two blocks.

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Hu, J., Song, H., Sandfeld, S. et al. Multiscale study of the dynamic friction coefficient due to asperity plowing. Friction (2020).

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  • multiscale friction
  • asperity plowing
  • dislocation plasticity
  • size/velocity effect
  • crystal orientation
  • statistical model