Roughness and Lubricant Effect on 3D Atomic Asperity Contact
Large-scale molecular dynamics simulations were performed to study the sliding process of rough surfaces with and without lubricant. In the dry contact, a linear relationship has been observed between the load and the contact area for surfaces with large root mean square (RMS) roughness. However, it becomes nonlinear when the RMS is small. In the presence of adhesion, small roughness results in a large friction force when the surfaces are flattened and the contact area reaches 60 %. In order to confirm this observation, nonadhesive models have been established with an observation that under the combined influence from roughness and adhesion, the contact area plays a crucial role to determine whether the dry sliding is under the domination of roughness or adhesion. In the lubricated sliding, an increase in friction force has been found for the partially lubricated condition because the asperity contact still accounts for a great deal of resisting force. Besides, the lubricant exerts a comparable resisting force to the sliding.