Mechanical Engineering Faculty Research


Low-Speed Atomistic Simulation of Stick–Slip Friction using Parallel Replica Dynamics

Document Type


Publication Date

Fall 10-2009


Atomic stick–slip friction has been predicted by molecular dynamics simulation and observed in experiments. However, direct quantitative comparison of the two has thus far not been possible because of the large difference between scanning velocities accessible to simulations and experiments. In general, the slowest sliding speeds in MD simulations are at least five orders of magnitude larger than the upper limit available to experimentalists. To take a step toward bridging this gap, we have applied parallel replica dynamics, an accelerated molecular dynamics method, to the simulation of atomic stick–slip. The method allows molecular simulations to run parallel in time in order to extend their duration, thereby enabling lower scanning velocities. We show here that this method is able to predict atomic stick–slip friction accurately and efficiently at scanning speeds several orders of magnitude slower than standard molecular dynamics simulations. The accuracy and usefulness of this method is illustrated by correct prediction of the logarithmic dependence of friction on velocity.

Publication Title

Tribology Letters





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