Contact forces at the sliding interface: mixed versus pure model alkane monolayers.

Abstract

Classical molecular dynamics simulations of an amorphous carbon tip sliding against monolayers of n-alkane chains are presented. The tribological behavior of tightly packed, pure monolayers composed of chains containing 14 carbon atoms is compared to mixed monolayers that randomly combine equal amounts of 12- and 16-carbon-atom chains. When sliding in the direction of chain cant under repulsive (positive) loads, pure monolayers consistently show lower friction than mixed monolayers. The distribution of contact forces between individual monolayer chain groups and the tip shows pure and mixed monolayers resist tip motion similarly. In contrast, the contact forces "pushing" the tip along differ in the two monolayers. The pure monolayers exhibit a high level of symmetry between resisting and pushing forces which results in a lower net friction. Both systems exhibit a marked friction anisotropy. The contact force distribution changes dramatically as a result of the change in sliding direction, resulting in an increase in friction. Upon continued sliding in the direction perpendicular to chain cant, both types of monolayers are often capable of transitioning to a state where the chains are primarily oriented with the cant along the sliding direction. A large change in the distribution of contact forces and a reduction in friction accompany this transition.

Cite this paper

@article{Mikulski2005ContactFA, title={Contact forces at the sliding interface: mixed versus pure model alkane monolayers.}, author={Paul T. Mikulski and Guangtu Gao and Ginger M. Chateauneuf and Judith A . Harrison}, journal={The Journal of chemical physics}, year={2005}, volume={122 2}, pages={024701} }