Indentation and Scratching with a Rotating Adhesive Tool: A Molecular Dynamics Simulation Study

IA Alhafez and HM Urbassek, TRIBOLOGY LETTERS, 70, 87 (2022).

DOI: 10.1007/s11249-022-01629-9

For the specific case of a spherical diamond nanoparticle with 10 nm radius rolling over a planar Fe surface, we employ molecular dynamics simulation to study the processes of indentation and scratching. The particle is rotating (rolling). We focus on the influence of the adhesion force between the nanoparticle and the surface on the damage mechanisms on the surface; the adhesion is modeled by a pair potential with arbitrarily prescribed value of the adhesion strength. With increasing adhesion, the following effects are observed. The load needed for indentation decreases and so does the effective material hardness; this effect is considerably more pronounced than for a non-rotating particle. During scratching, the tangential force, and hence the friction coefficient, increase. The torque needed to keep the particle rolling adds to the total work for scratching; however, for a particle rolling without slip on the surface the total work is minimum. In this sense, a rolling particle induces the most efficient scratching process. For both indentation and scratching, the length of the dislocation network generated in the substrate reduces. After leaving the surface, the particle is (partially) covered with substrate atoms and the scratch groove is roughened. We demonstrate that these effects are based on substrate atom transport under the rotating particle from the front towards the rear; this transport already occurs for a repulsive particle but is severely intensified by adhesion.

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