A study published by Andrea Vanossi, Nicola Manini and Erio Tosatti - three SISSA researchers - in PNAS (Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences) provides a new tool to better understand how sliding friction works in nanotribology, through colloidal crystals.
By theoretically studying these systems of charged microparticles, researchers are able to analyze friction forces through molecular dynamics simulations with accuracy never experienced before.
"There are several and very concrete potentialities", stated Andrea Vanossi, one of the members of the research group. "Just think of the constant miniaturization of high-tech components and of all the different nanotechnology sectors: if we understand how friction works at these levels, we will be able to create even more effective molecular motors or functional microsystems".
Colloidals are part of our everyday life (e.g. milk, asphalt or smoke) and they differentiate according to the state of the dispersed and dispersing substance (liquid, solid or gaseous).
The simulations were performed by SISSA in collaboration with ICTP, the Department of Physics in Milan and the CNR-IOM Institute for Materials Manufacturing and they allowed understanding what happens when a colloidal monolayer slides against an optical reticle modifying some parameters such as surface corrugation, drift speed or contact geometry.
The research method is also something new. Before this simulation was performed, only some recent experiments carried out in Germany tried for the first time to describe the behaviour of individual particles of a colloid in friction conditions, but never in such a precise way.
More in detail, researchers also suggest a way to directly extract the energy lost in friction by using the sliding data of the colloid. "This study is innovative also because it will allow predicting the different regimes of static friction realized according to the density of colloids and the strength of the optical reticle", added Erio Tosatti, another member of the research group. "All this lets us assume that crystalline solid surfaces will act in a similar way. We have never been able to make such a hypothesis before".
This study will open the way to new systems to explore the complexity of similar events, maybe at a microscopic scale.
International School of Advanced Studies (SISSA): http://www.sissa.it
This press release was posted to serve as a topic for discussion. Please comment below. We try our best to only post press releases that are associated with peer reviewed scientific literature. Critical discussions of the research are appreciated. If you need help finding a link to the original article, please contact us on twitter or via e-mail.
Written 20 years ago, the first algorithm to tap into the ultra-fast potential of quantum computing has been run on a real machine at long last
Shirley Corriher, author of Cookwise: The Hows and Whys of Successful Cooking, has tips on taking the bitter bite out of coffee, and holding onto cabbage's red hue while it's in the pan.
Data originally taken for another reason weaken the case for "dark photons"
Kip Thorne looks into the black hole he helped create and thinks, “Why, of course. That's what it would do.” This particular black hole is a simulation of unprecedented accuracy. It appears to spin at nearly the speed of light, dragging bits of the universe along with it. (That's gravity for you; relativity is superweird.) In theory it was once a star, but instead of fading or exploding, it collapsed like a failed soufflé into a tiny point of inescapable singularity. A glowing ring orbiting the spheroidal maelstrom seems to curve over the top and below the bottom simultaneously.
Apeel Sciences hopes its products, which use natural methods to fend off pests and oxidization, can markedly reduce the amount of produce wasted because of spoilage.
Francis Halzen’s amazing experiment heralds the beginning of a new era in astronomy
First direct detection of dark matter, thought to make up most of the matter in the universe, would be a historic breakthrough
Geologists, climate scientists, ecologists and a lawyer gather in Berlin for talks on whether to rename age of human lifeHumanitys terrifying impact on Earth justifies new Anthropocene epoch
This month in Italy, three judges have a chance to undo the Kafkaesque nightmare that has ensnared some of the country’s top scientists for almost five years. So far it looks doubtful they will. In 2012, seven scientists and engineers were convicted of manslaughter for things they said and did not say in the days
Turkey's eternal fires have remained burning for thousands of years but now the source of the methane that fuels them has been found