How square ice helps lubrication

AS de Wijn and LGM Pettersson, PHYSICAL REVIEW B, 95, 165433 (2017).

DOI: 10.1103/PhysRevB.95.165433

In the context of friction we use atomistic molecular-dynamics simulations to investigate water confined between graphene sheets over a wide range of pressures. We find that thermal equilibration of the confined water is hindered at high pressures. We demonstrate that, under the right conditions, square ice can form in an asperity, and that it is similar to cubic ice VII and ice X. We simulate sliding of atomically flat graphite on the square ice and find extremely low friction due to structural superlubricity. The conditions needed for square ice to form correspond to low sliding speeds, and we suggest that the ice observed in experiments of friction on wet graphite is of this type.

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