Molecular Dynamics Simulation Of The Effect Of Particle Hardness On Tribological Properties Of Nanofluids

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The determination of physical properties of nanofluids is mature, but the knowledge of tribological properties of nanofluids is limited. In this paper, the effects of surface roughness, fluid thickness, nanoparticle hardness, and number of nanoparticles on friction are explored systematical using a 2D Lennard-Jones molecular dynamics model. LJ parameters were chosen such that the ratio of stiffness of the nanoparticles to the opposing surfaces was approximately equal to ratio of stiffness of either aluminum oxide or zinc oxide to steel. A total of two hundred and twenty configurations were investigated. The results show that the benefits or drawbacks of nanofluid lubricants are sensitive to the friction regime (boundary, mixed, or hydrodynamic). When nanoparticles are present in lubricant-starved boundary conditions (fluid thickness less than the surface roughness amplitude), nanoparticles offer support that keeps the opposing surfaces separated. This separation results in reduced contact between the opposing surfaces and provides surface smoothing, which in turn lowers friction relative to the base fluid. At intermediate levels of fluid thickness where the fluid thickness and roughness are approximately equal, the presence of nanoparticles has a detrimental effect on friction. Nanoparticles jam and lock surfaces together and increase friction relative to the base fluid. As fluid thickness increases, the friction of the nanofluid generally remains higher than the base fluid likely due to the increased viscosity of fluid due to the presence of the nanoparticles. This work suggests nanofluids may offer limited benefits under specific lubrication conditions, but are detrimental under most conditions.



Mechanical engineering