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Time Strengthening of Crystal Nanocontacts
19.06.2017 12:00

We demonstrate how an exponentially saturating increase of the contact area between a nanoasperity and a crystal surface, occurring on time scales governed by the Arrhenius equation, is consistent with measurements of the static friction and lateral contact stiffness on a model alkali-halide surface at different temperatures in ultrahigh vacuum. The "contact ageing" effect is attributed to atomic attrition and is eventually broken by thermally activated slip of the nanoasperity on the surface. The combination of the two effects also leads to regions of strengthening and weakening in the velocity dependence of the friction, which are well-reproduced by an extended version of the Prandtl-Tomlinson model.


Juan J. Mazo, Dirk Dietzel, Andre Schirmeisen, J.G. Vilhena, Enrico Gnecco: "Time Strengthening of Crystal Nanocontacts", Physical Review Letters 118 (2017) 246101

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