Computational Nanotribology and Interfacial Dynamics

Yongsheng Leng, Izabela Szlufarska

Nanotribology is the study of interacting surfaces in relative motion that involves friction, lubrication and wear at nanometer scale. By nature this is a highly interdisciplinary field in the surface and interfacial science, which deals with atomic, molecular and surface forces. It impacts nearly every aspect of our daily lives and is essential to technological applications with moving parts. Applications include improving car engine lubrications, biolubrication in hip joints and cosmetics, shrinking devices to micrometer and nanometer scales to manufacture nanoscale machines, and expanding the range of temperatures, speeds, and chemical environments to the extreme conditions where devices operate.

Over the past a few decades, computer simulations complemented experiments by revealing atomic and molecular mechanisms in dynamic contact interfaces. Simulations allowed for a first glimpse on the different paths of energy dissipation induced by tribological loading, which could not be analyzed insitu. Today simulations have become an indispensable tool to better understand the nature of tribological contacts and interfacial dynamics at fairly large scales. However, there still remains a large gap between the time‐ and length‐scales considered by computer simulations and those in experiments.

This minisymposium solicits abstracts from a broad range of studies in the areas of computational nanotribology and interfacial dynamics. Specific topics of interest include molecular, coarse‐grained, and multi‐scale simulations of sliding contacts in dry and lubricated environments, effects of chemistry and roughness on interfacial forces, emerging properties of liquid films under confinements, mechanical properties of soft films at interfaces, modeling of nanomechanics in atomic force microscope (AFM) and surface force apparatus (SFA) experiments, computational design of materials with respect to their tribological properties, and development of new molecular simulation strategies for long‐time, multi‐scale computational modeling of nanotribological and interfacial phenomena.