Unraveling and Mapping the Mechanisms for Near-Surface Microstructure Evolution in CuNi Alloys under Sliding

SJ Eder and MR Ripoll and U Cihak-Bayr and D Dini and C Gachot, ACS APPLIED MATERIALS & INTERFACES, 12, 32197-32208 (2020).

DOI: 10.1021/acsami.0c09302

The origin of friction and wear in polycrystalline materials is intimately connected with their microstructural response to interfacial stresses. Although many mechanisms that govern microstructure evolution in sliding contacts are generally understood, it is still a challenge to ascertain which mechanisms matter under what conditions, which limits the development of tailor-made microstructures for reducing friction and wear. Here, we shed light on the circumstances that promote plastic deformation and surface damage by studying several face-centered cubic CuNi alloys subjected to sliding with molecular dynamics simulations featuring tens of millions of atoms. By analyzing the depth- and time- dependent evolution of the grain size, twinning, shear, and stresses in the aggregate, we derive a deformation mechanism map for CuNi alloys. We verify the predictions of this map against focused ion beam images of the near-surface regions of CuNi alloys that were experimentally subjected to similar loading conditions. Our results may serve as a tool for finding optimum material compositions within a specified operating range.

Return to Publications page