Study on Lubrication Characteristics of C4-Alkane and Nanoparticle during Boundary Friction by Molecular Dynamics Simulation

X Zheng and LH Su and GY Deng and J Zhang and HT Zhu and AK Tieu, METALS, 11, 1464 (2021).

DOI: 10.3390/met11091464

Lubricant has been widely applied to reduce wear and friction between the contact surfaces when they are in relative motion. In the current study, a nonequilibrium molecular dynamics (NEMD) simulation was specifically established to conduct a comprehensive investigation on the dynamic contact between two iron surfaces in a boundary friction system considering the mixed C4-alkane and nanoparticles as lubricant. The main research objective was to explore the effects of fluid and nanoparticles addition on the surface contact and friction force. It was found that nanoparticles acted like ball bearings between the contact surfaces, leading to a change of sliding friction mode to rolling friction mode. Under normal loads, plastic deformation occurred at the top surface because nanoparticles were mainly supporting the normal load. By increasing the number of C4-alkane molecules between two contact surfaces, the contact condition has been changed from partial to full lubrication. In addition, an attractive force from the solid-liquid LJ interaction between C4-alkane and surfaces was observed at the early stage of sliding, due to the large space formed by wall surfaces and nanoparticles. The findings in this paper would be beneficial for understanding the frictional behavior of a simple lubricant with or without nanoparticles addition in a small confinement.

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