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Friction  2022, Vol. 10 Issue (2): 209-216    doi: 10.1007/s40544-020-0418-8
Research Article     
Superlubricity of molybdenum disulfide subjected to large compressive strains
Shengcong WU,Zhisen MENG,Xiaoma TAO,Zhao WANG*()
Guangxi Key Laboratory for Relativistic Astrophysics, Department of Physics, Guangxi University, Nanning 530004, China
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The friction between a molybdenum disulphide (MoS2) nanoflake and a MoS2 substrate was analyzed using a modified Tomlinson model based on atomistic force fields. The calculations performed in the study suggest that large deformations in the substrate can induce a dramatic decrease in the friction between the nanoflake and the substrate to produce the so-called superlubricity. The coefficient of friction decreases by 1-4 orders of magnitude when a high strain exceeding 0.1 is applied. This friction reduction is strongly anisotropic. For example, the reduction is most pronounced in the compressive regime when the nanoflake slides along the zigzag crystalline direction of the substrate. In other sliding directions, the coefficient of friction will reduce to its lowest value either when a high tensile strain is applied along the zigzag direction or when a high compressive strain is applied along the armchair direction. This anisotropy is correlated with the atomic configurations of MoS2.

Key wordssuperlubricity      friction      molybdenum disulfide      strain     
Received: 17 December 2019      Published: 17 January 2022
Fund:  National Natural Science Foundation of China(11964002);Guangxi Science Foundation(2018GXNSFAA138179);Scientific Research Foundation of Guangxi University(XTZ160532)
Corresponding Authors: Zhao WANG     E-mail:
About author: Shengcong WU. He received his bachelor degree in applied physics in 2017 from Jiangsu University of Science and Technology, Zhenjiang, China. Then, he was a master student in the Guangxi Key Laboratory for Relativistic Astrophysics at Guangxi University. He has recently obtained his master degree in Department of Physics at Guangxi University. His research interests include structural superlubricity of nanomaterials.|Zhao WANG. He received his Ph.D. degree in physics at the University of Besancon in France. He has been working at EMPA in Thun (Switzerland) and CEA in Grenoble (France) as a postdoc after graduation. He came back to China in 2011, for working at Xi’an Jiaotong University. He joined Guangxi University since 2016 as a professor. His research concentrates on molecular physics, as well as on mechanical and thermal transport properties of nanoscale interfaces.
Cite this article:

Shengcong WU,Zhisen MENG,Xiaoma TAO,Zhao WANG. Superlubricity of molybdenum disulfide subjected to large compressive strains. Friction, 2022, 10(2): 209-216.

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Fig. 1 Model setup. (a) Top view and (b) side view of a hexagonal MoS2 flake (orthogonally connected with three springs) atop a MoS2 monolayer substrate.
Fig. 2 Instantaneous force acting on the MoS2 flake vs. its sliding distance when the substrate is subjected to (a) high tensile strain and (b) high compressive strain, at a normal force Fn=16.2 nN and ω = 0.
Fig. 3 Coefficient of friction vs. strain applied to the substrate along the (a) x-direction and (b) y-direction, with a constant normal force (Fn = 8.1, 16.2 or 24.3 nN) and ω = 0.
Fig. 4 Potential energy surface (PES) between the MoS2 flake and the substrate subjected to (a) no strain, (b) εx = 0.175, (c) εx = -0.175, and (d) εy = -0.175.
Fig. 5 (a) Schematic of the overlapping long-range interaction potential energy on two atomic sites and (b) different atom densities of MoS2 along the armchair and zigzag directions.
Fig. 6 Coefficient of friction computed for different sliding directions with different strains applied to the substrate along the (a) x-axis and (b) y-axis.
Fig. 7 Coefficient of friction computed with different sizes of the flake (number of atoms N = 36, 81, or 144), with a constant normal force of 16.2 nN and ω = 0 at different strain levels.
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