Elasticity limits structural superlubricity in large contacts
TA Sharp and L Pastewka and MO Robbins, PHYSICAL REVIEW B, 93, 121402 (2016).
Geometrically imposed force cancellations lead to ultralow friction between rigid incommensurate crystalline asperities. Elastic deformations may avert this cancellation but are difficult to treat analytically in finite and three-dimensional systems. We use atomic- scale simulations to show that elasticity affects the friction only after the contact radius a exceeds a characteristic length set by the core width of interfacial dislocations b(core). As a increases past b(core), the frictional stress for both incommensurate and commensurate surfaces decreases to a constant value. This plateau corresponds to a Peierls stress that drops exponentially with increasing b(core) but remains finite.
Return to Publications page