Molecular dynamics simulation of gold solid film lubrication
The lubrication mechanisms in ultrathin solid gold films confined between two rough nickel surfaces have been investigated employing classical molecular dynamics with a second moment tight-binding potential. Three types of nickel surfaces are considered: Ni(111), Ni(001) single- and an Ni(001) - (111) bicrystal. In all three systems, gold layers that have been quenched from the melt organise in (111) layers parallel to the nickel interfaces. The relative sliding of the two single crystal nickel tribopartners requires a shear stress of around 170 MPa - a value that is almost one order of magnitude lower than the ideal plastic shear stress of single crystal bulk gold. This reduced stress can be explained by a misfit dislocation mechanism in a single plane close to the Ni/Au interface. In the case of the Ni(001) - (111) bicrystal, the nickel grain boundaries induce grain boundaries in the quenched gold film which vanish during sliding. During subsequent sliding the nickel grain boundaries act as nucleation centres for dislocation loops leading to an increased shear stress of 490 MPa. The same is observed for an embedded hydrocarbon impurity. Also here dislocation loops are emitted on (111) planes that are tilted with respect to the sliding plane.