Uncovering the Origins of Friction and Wear
01.04.08 - Contact occurs in all structures and machines, from the rubbing of joints in structural components to the adhesion of tires on roads. The high societal cost of friction and wear, together with the advancement of surface-sciencedominated nanotechnologies, are leading to exciting advances in contact mechanics.
Yet, a central still-unresolved question remains : where does friction originate ? Answering this question is key to designing components with tailored friction and wear properties. In the Computational Solid Mechanics Laboratory, we have embarked on this quest through simulation-based engineering science.
The challenge of scales in contact mechanics is daunting as frictional forces arise at the atomic scale (contacting asperities) whereas long-range elastic forces determine the overall contact response. This difficulty is being addressed by harnessing massively-parallel multiscale simulations and gathering statistics of particle detachment during the sliding of rough surfaces.