An Advanced Rough Surface Continuum-Based Contact and Sliding Model in the Presence of Molecularly Thin Lubricant

Antonis I. Vakis, Andreas A. Polycarpou

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A model of molecularly thin lubricant layer behavior for rough, sliding contact is presented in this work as a function of lubricant layer morphology. Building on previous work by the authors where the lubricant layer was assumed to be uniform in thickness and morphology, lubricant contributions to contact are presently treated at the asperity level and the effects of lubricant bonding ratio and coverage are accounted for. Effective stiffnesses for lubricated asperities are used to calculate the bearing and shear forces, while variable surface energy is modeled at the asperity level and used within an improved continuum adhesive formulation. Contributions from asperities in lubricant and solid contact for partial coverage are determined within the context of a statistical mechanics model. The proposed model can be used to study the mixed nanolubrication regime expected during light contact or ‘‘surfing’’ recording in magnetic storage, where sustained nanolubricant contact would partially deplete mobile molecules from the contact interface.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)227-238
Number of pages12
JournalTribology Letters
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jan-2013
Externally publishedYes


  • Boundary lubrication friction
  • Adhesion
  • Roughness effects
  • Magnetic data storage
  • Nanotribology

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