Investigation into the Realization of a Single Atomic Layer Removal in Nanoscale Mechanical Machining of Single Crystalline Copper

  • Pengzhe ZhuEmail author
  • Jianyong Li
Part of the Springer Tracts in Mechanical Engineering book series (STME)


It is widely believed that the minimum depth of material removal of single crystalline workpieces is one single atomic layer in nanoscale mechanical machining. However, direct evidence for this is still lacking. In this work, the minimum depth of material removal of single crystalline copper in nanoscale mechanical machining is investigated through nanoscratching using molecular dynamics simulations. We demonstrate that the minimum depth of material removal of copper workpiece can achieve a single atomic layer under certain machining conditions in nanoscale machining process. It is found that the minimum depth of material removal is closely associated with the crystal orientation and scratching direction of copper workpiece. Our results also demonstrate that even when the depth of material removal is a single atomic layer of copper workpiece under certain machining conditions, the workpiece material is not removed in a layer-by-layer fashion, which rejects the hypothesis that single crystalline metal materials can be continuously and stably removed one layer of atoms after another in nanoscale mechanical machining. These understandings not only shed light on the material removal mechanism in nanoscale mechanical machining but also provide insights into the control and optimization of nanoscale machining process.



This work is supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (Grant No. 51405337), the Specialized Research Fund for the Doctoral Program of Higher Education (Grant No. 20130032120065), and the Natural Science Foundation of Tianjin (No. 15JCQNJC04800).

The original work is published in Computational Materials Science (2016, 118:192–202), and the support of Elsevier BV is acknowledged.


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© Springer Nature Singapore Pte Ltd. 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Mechanical, Electronic and Control EngineeringBeijing Jiaotong UniversityBeijingChina

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