Effect of stress nonhomogeneity on the shear melting of a thin boundary lubrication layer

Iakov A. Lyashenko, Alexander E. Filippov, Mikhail Popov, Valentin L. Popov

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


We consider the dynamical properties of boundary lubrication in contact between two atomically smooth solid surfaces separated by an ultrathin layer of lubricant. In contrast to previous works on this topic, we explicitly consider the heterogeneity of tangential stresses, which arises in a contact of elastic bodies that are moved tangentially relative to each other. To describe phase transitions between structural states of the lubricant we use an approach based on the field theory of phase transitions. It is assumed that the lubricant layer, when stressed, can undergo a shear-melting transition of first or second order. While solutions for the homogeneous system can be easily obtained analytically, the kinetics of the phase transitions in the spatially heterogeneous system can only be studied numerically. In our numerical experiments melting of the lubricant layer starts from the outer boundary of contact and propagates to its center. The melting wave is followed by a wave of solidification. This process repeats itself periodically, following the stick-slip pattern that is characteristic of such systems. Depending on the thermodynamic and kinetic parameters of the model, different modes of sliding with almost complete or only partial intermediate solidification are possible.

Original languageEnglish
Article number053002
JournalPhysical Review E - Statistical, Nonlinear, and Soft Matter Physics
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 10 Nov 2016

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Statistical and Nonlinear Physics
  • Statistics and Probability
  • Condensed Matter Physics

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