Atomic-Scale Understanding on the Tribological Behavior of Amorphous Carbon Films under Different Contact Pressures and Surface Textured Shapes

Z Chen and NZ Du and XW Li and XB Wei and JQ Ding and SQ Lu and SJ Du and CA Feng and K Chen and DK Zhang and KR Lee, MATERIALS, 16, 6108 (2023).

DOI: 10.3390/ma16186108

The textured design of amorphous carbon (a-C) film can significantly improve the tribological performance and service life of moving mechanical components. However, its friction dependence on different texture shapes, especially under different load conditions, remains unclear. In particular, due to the lack of information regarding the friction interface, the underlying friction mechanism has still not been unveiled. Therefore, the effects of contact pressure and textured shapes on the tribological behavior of a-C films under dry friction conditions were comparatively studied in this work by reactive molecular dynamics simulation. The results show that under low contact pressure, the tribological property of a-C film is sensitive to the textured shape, and the system with a circular textured surface exhibits a lower friction coefficient than that with a rectangular textured surface, which is attributed to the small fraction of unsaturated bonds. However, the increase of contact pressure results in the serious reconstruction and passivation of the friction interface. On the one hand, this induces a growth rate of friction force that is much smaller than that of the normal load, which is followed by a significant decrease in the friction coefficient with contact pressure. On the other hand, the destruction or even disappearance of the textured structure occurs, weakening the difference in the friction coefficient caused by different textured shapes of the a-C surface. These results reveal the friction mechanism of textured a-C film and provide a new way to functionalize the a-C as a protective film for applications in hard disks, MEMS, and NEMS.

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