Spaced-out nanotwins make for stronger metals

Researchers from Brown University and the Institute of Metals Research at the Chinese Academy of Sciences have found a new way to use nanotwins—tiny linear boundaries in a metal’s atomic lattice that have identical crystalline structures on either side—to make stronger metals.

In a paper...Read More »

Smart mud to smooth the way for drilling wells

A model that simulates how drilling fluids, or muds, behave and influence the stability of oil wells has been developed by KAUST researchers. Their findings could inform new safety protocols and the design of novel drilling muds.

To ensure oil wells are safe and economically viable, it...Read More »

Materials researchers study the causes of wear – permanent molecular modifications occur at first contact

Wear has major impacts on economic efficiency or health. All movable parts are affected, examples being the bearing of a wind power plant or an artificial hip joint. However, the exact cause of wear is still unclear. Scientists of Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT) recently proved that the...Read More »

The subtle mechanics of an avalanche – as seen in 3D

03.08.18 – Drawing on the fact that the snow in an avalanche can behave like both a solid and a fluid, a young researcher at EPFL and SLF has managed to simulate a snow slab avalanche with unrivaled precision.

An avalanche is an extremely...Read More »

New theory describes intricacies of a splashing droplet

Findings may help track movement of pesticides and biological contaminants.

As a single raindrop falls to the ground, it can splash back up in a crown-like sheet, spraying smaller droplets from its rim before sinking back to the surface — all in the blink of an eye.

Now researchers at MIT have...Read More »

Friction has memory

Experiments show that the friction between two surfaces depends on their history of contact and that this “memory” is reminiscent of the behavior of glasses.

Contrary to what you may have learned in high school, friction between two surfaces is not constant. For a wide range...Read More »

Simulations explain why the ice is so slippery

Everybody knows that sliding on ice or snow, is much easier than sliding on most other surfaces. But why is the ice surface slippery? This question has engaged scientists for more than a century and continues to be subject of debate. Researchers from AMOLF, the University of Amsterdam...Read More »

A model for oxidation of high-strength materials under stress

Each year, the effects of corroding materials sap more than $1 trillion from the global economy. As certain alloys are exposed to extreme stress and temperatures, an oxide film begins to form, causing the alloys to break down even more quickly. What precisely makes these high-temperature, high-stress conditions...Read More »

Employing machine learning to create wear and corrosion resistant metallic glass

If you combine two or three metals together, you will get an alloy that usually looks and acts like a metal, with its atoms arranged in rigid geometric patterns.

But once in a while, under just the right conditions, you get something entirely new: a futuristic alloy called metallic...Read More »

Contact Area Calculation Tutorial: Boundary Element Based Model vs. Asperity Based Model

In contact mechanics and tribology it is frequently needed to calculate the contact area between rough surfaces to estimate possible slip, friction, electric conductivity, etc. In this tutorial, it will be shown how to perform this calculation using a freely available software – Tribology Simulator....Read More »

Knowing the strength of adhesion

How can flies walk on the window glass upside down? How can geckos climb walls and trees? It looks like a simple question, but it is hard to answer. The secret is that flies and geckos, and many other living species can control the ability to stick to surfaces, ability to adhere. Adhesion has...Read More »

A very simple estimate of adhesion with rough surfaces based on a bearing area model

Here we present an abstract to the paper addressing a simplified model for adhesion between hard rough solids.


In the present note, we suggest a single-line equation estimate for adhesion between elastic (hard) rough solids with Gaussian multiple scales of roughness....Read More »

Simulations reveal cavitation bubble colapse as a mechanism of traumatic injury

Sandia developing specialized computer modeling and simulation to characterize injury

Sandia National Laboratories is developing specialized computer modeling and simulation methods to better understand how blasts on a battlefield could lead to traumatic brain injury and injuries to vital organs, like the heart and lungs.

Researchers at Sandia...Read More »

Some open problems in adhesion (of rough surfaces)

By M.Ciavarella, A. Papangelo. Politecnico di BARI, Italy.

Adhesion for ‘‘soft’’ bodies shows instabilities like in the simple case of a single sinusoid even in the so called JKR regime (Johnson 1995) which leads to hysteretic behavior. Hence, for very soft and large bodies, and special types of...Read More »

Pushing Through Sand

Simple equation predicts force needed to push objects through granular and pasty materials.

For those of you who take sandcastle building very seriously, listen up: MIT engineers now say you can trust a very simple equation to calculate the force required to push a shovel — and any other “intruder”— through...Read More »

Simulating Physics

Nature is quantum mechanical, and UCSB/Google researchers are ready to study it with a nine-qubit array and the problem of many-body localization

When does a metal stop being metallic? When do atoms start breaking the rules of chemistry as we know them? To the naked eye, and at room temperatures, such...Read More »

Contact Pressure For Rough Surfaces: A Tutorial

In this article, a calculation of contact pressure in a rough contact is discussed. The calculation is done using a Tribology Simulator software, which is available for download here (its free to use). The simulator uses a Boundary Element Method (BEM) with Fast Fourier Transform...Read More »

Researchers simulate wear of materials as they rub together

Forty years ago, MIT emeritus professor of mechanical engineering Ernest Rabinowicz calculated that 6 percent of the annual U.S. gross domestic product was lost through mechanical wear. His assertion gained enough traction that it became known as the “Rabinowicz Law.”

“Even so, the mechanism by which mechanical wear happens is one...Read More »

Contact mechanics challenge results

The Contact-Mechanics Challenge completed

In late 2015 we posed the Contact-Mechanics Challenge. This has now been completed and the winner is—the field of tribology.

BECAUSE TRIBOLOGY IS THE STUDY OF contacting bodies in relative motion, a fundamental issue is to understand the nature of the interfacial contact as a function of load...Read More »

Simulation reveals previously unknown friction mechanisms of diamond at the molecular level

Diamond coatings are commonly used today to protect tools and machine components that are subjected to high wear, and thus to extend their service life. It is known that rubbing two dry diamond surfaces together creates enormous friction due to the bonding of reactive carbon atoms on each surface with...Read More »

New Model Predicts the Force required to Tie Simple Knots

Got rope? Then try this experiment: Cross both ends, left over right, then bring the left end under and out, as if tying a pair of shoelaces. If you repeat this sequence, you get what’s called a “granny” knot. If, instead, you cross both ends again, this time right over...Read More »

Computer matches Humans at predicting How Objects Move

“3-D physics engine” from the Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory simulates the human brain to infer physical properties.
We humans take for granted our remarkable ability to predict things that happen around us. For example, consider Rube Goldberg machines: One of the reasons we enjoy them is because...Read More »

Zeroing in on ZDDP tribofilm growth

Models for the stress-activated growth of tribofilms from ZDDP were modified to include wear.

TWO RECENT CUTTING EDGE ARTICLES reported on work that showed the growth rates of tribofilms from ZDDP were accelerated by contact stress1 or interfacial shear2 under conditions in which the temperature rise caused by rubbing was negligible....Read More »

Say “modeling” not “simulation”

Richard M. Stallman, founder and president of the Free Software Foundation and founding father of the GNU Project, has a long been repeating “say GNU, not Linux” although he has not had much success. In the same sense, from this corner of the world I will begin a similar battle. I...Read More »

Adhesive wear model: particle by particle

10.07.17 – An EPFL study has deepened our understanding of the fine particles produced by adhesive wear. This breakthrough could lead to cost savings and environmental benefits.
Adhesive wear occurs when two surfaces – such as a brake pad and a wheel’s disc, or a car tire and the...Read More »

Virtual laboratory: Fast, flexible and exact

The mechanical properties of sheet metal materials are directional: their deformation behavior and their strength differ significantly depending on the viewing direction, for example in the direction of rolling or transversely to it. Numerous complex load tests therefore have to be carried out in order to obtain the necessary material...Read More »

An Algorithm Helps Protect Mars Curiosity's Wheels

There are no mechanics on Mars, so the next best thing for NASA’s Curiosity rover is careful driving.

A new algorithm is helping the rover do just that. The software, referred to as traction control, adjusts the speed of Curiosity’s wheels depending on the rocks it’s climbing. After 18 months of...Read More »

Elmer: An Open Source Finite Elements Software

There are nowadays some Open Source Finite Elements packages available online, just to cite some: CalculixSalome-Meca (with Code Aster)Z88 AuroraElmer, etc.

The gap between the paid software (AnsysComsolAbaqus, LS-DYNA,…) and the open source packages is still big, especially when it comes to the GUI and...Read More »

Stress Assisted Tribofilm Growth: A New Model

Under extreme conditions the lubricant film fails to separate the rubbing surfaces and solid-to-solid contact occurs. To prevent excessive wear of the base materials anti-wear additives are used in these cases. The additives create a protective layer which is worn instead of the base materials and allows to control the...Read More »

Mixed Lubrication: Wear Particles Size and Friction Evolution

Wear in tribological contacts results in generation of wear particles of various sizes and shapes and these particles impact the performance of the mechanical devices. These particles may create additional mechanical damage or act as catalysts and adversely affect the lubricating properties of lubricants. The size of the generated wear...Read More »

Nonequilibrium molecular dynamics simulations of organic friction modifiers

The requirement for greater energy efficiency in engineering systems has led to a general reduction in lubricant viscosity, which means that an increasing number of engineering components operate under boundary lubrication conditions. As a result, lubricant additives that reduce friction and wear under boundary conditions are of increasing...Read More »

Predicting the size of wear particles

A wear process results in the generation of particles, of various size, shape, color and chemical composition. The reported size of wear particles varies from mm scale, which is typically attributed to severe wear, to nm scale in the range of 5nm in mild wear. In general wear particles influence...Read More »

Slip, No Slip and Cavitation

Engineering surfaces are heterogeneous and can be slippery or sticky locally depending on surface roughness and chemistry. The variation of surface properties affects the interaction between the wall and lubricant and determines friction. Slip can be used to control friction in lubricated devices.

In hydrodynamic theory, the slip is quantified by...Read More »

Adhesive Wear Particles Generation: by Fracture or Atom-by-Atom?

The most famous equation to predict wear known probably to everyone working in the field of tribology  is Archard’s model (1953). The model assumes that wear occurs through the fracture of plastically deformed material and generation of wear debris. The fracture nature of the wear debris is backed up...Read More »

Ab Initio Analysis of Carbon Film Lubricity

Carbon-based nanomaterials, coatings and films attracted a great attention due to proved possibility to achieve lowest friction and wear without environmental pollution. However, frequently, the state of the low friction is strictly related to the air humidity, which limits the areas of applicability of many carbon-based lubricants. To control and...Read More »

Hysteresis in Friction of Graphene

Friction is a result of complex interaction of physical, chemical and mechanical forces at the sliding interface. Due to mentioned complexity, truly predictive models of friction are yet to be developed. As a result of the complexity, various phenomena rise, as for example friction hysteresis due to the change of...Read More »

Molecular Dynamic Simulations and AFM Experiments at Overlapping Speeds

Atomic Force Microscopy (AFM) is a powerful and convenient experimental measurement device in the field of nano-scale tribology. It was successfully applied to explore superlubricity in a graphene-gold interface and  superlubricity due to repulsive van der Waals forces, to grow tribofilms and...Read More »


Molecular Dynamic Simulations of Zinc Phosphate - Iron Oxide Reaction

In order to improve wear resistance of the surfaces operating in harsh conditions, along with base oils additives are frequently used.  ZDDP is one of the best additives in terms of antiwear performance, however, environmentally unfriendly. The search for a new, environmentally friendly and antiwear efficient substitute for ZDDP is...Read More »

Mechano-chemical wear and tribofilm thickness simulation

When the conditions in the tribosystem are such that the lubricant is not capable of carrying any significant part of the applied load, most of the load is carried by the direct contact of the rubbing surfaces and a boundary lubrication regime is established. More and more mechanical systems operate...Read More »

Inverse Friction Force - Load Dependence of Graphene

When the bodies slide against each other, the classic Amonton’s law states that the friction force is directly proportional to the applied normal load. This law holds true for various if not most of the engineering materials, like metals, ceramics etc. At the same time, the law is in agreement...Read More »

Anyone is up for challenge?

Society of tribology and lubrication engineers announced Contact Mechanics Challenge.   Dr. Martin Müser initiated a competition in calculation of a real contact area. He has already results of his own calculation and challenges other groups to join and compare the results. As an outcome, there will be a paper discussing...Read More »