Calculating shear viscosity with confined non-equilibrium molecular dynamics: a case study on hematite - PAO-2 lubricant

D Mathas and D Sarpa and W Holweger and M Wolf and C Bohnert and V Bakolas and J Procelewska and J Franke and P Rödel and CK Skylaris, RSC ADVANCES, 13, 33994-34002 (2023).

DOI: 10.1039/d3ra06929j

The behaviour of confined lubricants at the atomic scale as affected by the interactions at the surface-lubricant interface is relevant in a range of technological applications in areas such as the automotive industry. In this paper, by performing fully atomistic molecular dynamics, we investigate the regime where the viscosity starts to deviate from the bulk behaviour, a topic of great practical and scientific relevance. The simulations consist of setting up a shear flow by confining the lubricant between iron oxide surfaces. By using confined Non-Equilibrium Molecular Dynamics (NEMD) simulations at a pressure range of 0.1-1.0 GPa at 100 degrees C, we demonstrate that the film thickness of the fluid affects the behaviour of viscosity. We find that by increasing the number of lubricant molecules, we approach the viscosity value of the bulk fluid derived from previously published NEMD simulations for the same system. These changes in viscosity occurred at film thicknesses ranging from 10.12 to 55.93 angstrom. The viscosity deviations at different pressures between the system with the greatest number of lubricant molecules and the bulk simulations varied from -16% to 41%. The choice of the utilized force field for treating the atomic interactions was also investigated. Atomistic simulations show for the first time how the variation of a lubricant's film thickness affects viscosity and at what point it eventually becomes comparable with the bulk simulation of a lubricant, at different pressures and shear regimes.

Return to Publications page