, Volume 6, Issue 3, pp 245–259 | Cite as

Adhesive wear mechanisms uncovered by atomistic simulations

  • Jean-François MolinariEmail author
  • Ramin Aghababaei
  • Tobias Brink
  • Lucas Frérot
  • Enrico Milanese
Open Access
Review Article


In this review, we discuss our recent advances in modeling adhesive wear mechanisms using coarse-grained atomistic simulations. In particular, we present how a model pair potential reveals the transition from ductile shearing of an asperity to the formation of a debris particle. This transition occurs at a critical junction size, which determines the particle size at its birth. Atomistic simulations also reveal that for nearby asperities, crack shielding mechanisms result in a wear volume proportional to an effective area larger than the real contact area. As the density of microcontacts increases with load, we propose this crack shielding mechanism as a key to understand the transition from mild to severe wear. We conclude with open questions and a road map to incorporate these findings in mesoscale continuum models. Because these mesoscale models allow an accurate statistical representation of rough surfaces, they provide a simple means to interpret classical phenomenological wear models and wear coefficients from physics-based principles.


adhesive wear molecular dynamics continuum mechanics 


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Copyright information

© The author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jean-François Molinari
    • 1
    Email author
  • Ramin Aghababaei
    • 2
  • Tobias Brink
    • 1
  • Lucas Frérot
    • 1
  • Enrico Milanese
    • 1
  1. 1.Civil Engineering Department, Materials Science DepartmentÉcole Polytechnique Fédérale de LausanneLausanneSwitzerland
  2. 2.Department of Engineering - Mechanical EngineeringAarhus UniversitetAarhusDenmark

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