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JPCM2008 - IOP PUBLISHING JOURNAL OF PHYSICS CONDENSED...

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IOP P UBLISHING J OURNAL OF P HYSICS: C ONDENSED M ATTER J. Phys.: Condens. Matter 20 (2008) 354012 (14pp) doi:10.1088/0953-8984/20/35/354012 Integrating experimental and simulation length and time scales in mechanistic studies of friction W G Sawyer 1 , 2 , S S Perry 2 , S R Phillpot 2 and S B Sinnott 2 , 3 1 Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL 32611, USA 2 Department of Materials Science and Engineering, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL 32611, USA E-mail: [email protected] Received 20 February 2008, in final form 18 April 2008 Published 11 August 2008 Online at stacks.iop.org/JPhysCM/20/354012 Abstract Friction is ubiquitous in all aspects of everyday life and has consequently been under study for centuries. Classical theories of friction have been developed and used to successfully solve numerous tribological problems. However, modern applications that involve advanced materials operating under extreme environments can lead to situations where classical theories of friction are insufficient to describe the physical responses of sliding interfaces. Here, we review integrated experimental and computational studies of atomic-scale friction and wear at solid–solid interfaces across length and time scales. The influence of structural orientation in the case of carbon nanotube bundles, and molecular orientation in the case of polymer films of polytetrafluoroethylene and polyethylene, on friction and wear are discussed. In addition, while friction in solids is generally considered to be athermal, under certain conditions thermally activated friction is observed for polymers, carbon nanotubes and graphite. The conditions under which these transitions occur, and their proposed origins, are discussed. Lastly, a discussion of future directions is presented. (Some figures in this article are in colour only in the electronic version) 1. Introduction Friction is a ubiquitous phenomenon, occurring in virtually every aspect of life on a daily basis. It has consequently been under study for the last five centuries. Classical theories of friction have been developed that have been successfully applied to numerous tribological problems associated with contemporary life [ 1–4 ]. However, modern applications that involve solid–solid interfaces and advanced materials operating under extreme environments can lead to situations where classical theories are insufficient to describe friction at sliding interfaces. A concerted effort has therefore been made to link cutting edge experimental and computational work across length and time scales to develop new theories to characterize the frictional properties of solid–solid interfaces. The study of atomic- and molecular-scale friction has been facilitated by experimental techniques developed and 3 Author to whom any correspondence should be addressed.
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