Applicability of Macroscopic Wear and Friction Laws on the Atomic Length Scale

SJ Eder and G Feldbauer and D Bianchi and U Cihak-Bayr and G Betz and A Vernes, PHYSICAL REVIEW LETTERS, 115, 025502 (2015).

DOI: 10.1103/PhysRevLett.115.025502

Using molecular dynamics, we simulate the abrasion process of an atomically rough Fe surface with multiple hard abrasive particles. By quantifying the nanoscopic wear depth in a time-resolved fashion, we show that Barwell's macroscopic wear law can be applied at the atomic scale. We find that in this multiasperity contact system, the Bowden- Tabor term, which describes the friction force as a function of the real nanoscopic contact area, can predict the kinetic friction even when wear is involved. From this the Derjaguin-Amontons-Coulomb friction law can be recovered, since we observe a linear dependence of the contact area on the applied load in accordance with Greenwood-Williamson contact mechanics.

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