Molecular dynamics of rolling and twisting motion of amorphous nanoparticles

P Umstatter and HM Urbassek, SCIENTIFIC REPORTS, 11, 14591 (2021).

DOI: 10.1038/s41598-021-93984-1

Granular mechanics codes use macroscopic laws to describe the damping of rolling and twisting motion in granular ensembles. We employ molecular dynamics simulation of amorphous Lennard-Jones grains to explore the applicability of these laws for nm-sized particles. We find the adhesive force to be linear in the intergrain attraction, as in the macroscopic theory. However, the damping torque of rolling motion is strongly superlinear in the intergrain attraction. This is caused by the strong increase of the 'lever arm' responsible for the damping torque- characterizing the asymmetry of the adhesive neck during rolling motion- with the surface energy of the grains. Also the damping torque of twisting motion follows the macroscopic theory based on sliding friction, which predicts the torque to increase whit the cube of the contact radius; here the dynamic increase of the contact radius with angular velocity is taken into account.

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