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Research Papers

Edge Forces in Contacting Graphene Layers

[+] Author and Article Information
Jianxin Li, Hongwei Zhang, Zhengrong Guo

Shanghai Institute of Applied Mathematics and Mechanics,
Shanghai Key Laboratory of Mechanics
in Energy Engineering,
Shanghai University,
Shanghai 200072, China

Tienchong Chang

Shanghai Institute of Applied Mathematics and Mechanics,
Shanghai Key Laboratory of Mechanics
in Energy Engineering,
Shanghai University,
Shanghai 200072, China;
State Key Laboratory of Ocean Engineering,
School of Naval Architecture, Ocean,
and Civil Engineering,
Shanghai Jiao Tong University,
Shanghai 200240, China
e-mails: tchang@sjtu.edu.cn;
tchang@staff.shu.edu.cn

Huajian Gao

School of Engineering,
Brown University,
Providence, RI 02912

1Corresponding author.

Contributed by the Applied Mechanics Division of ASME for publication in the JOURNAL OF APPLIED MECHANICS. Manuscript received May 8, 2015; final manuscript received July 14, 2015; published online July 30, 2015. Editor: Yonggang Huang.

J. Appl. Mech 82(10), 101011 (Jul 30, 2015) (5 pages) Paper No: JAM-15-1233; doi: 10.1115/1.4031085 History: Received May 08, 2015

Temperature- and stiffness-dependent edge forces offer new mechanisms of designing nanodevices driven by temperature and stiffness gradients. Here, we investigate the edge forces in a graphene nanolayer on a spring supported graphene substrate based on molecular dynamics (MD) simulations. The dependences of the edge forces on the temperature and stiffness of the substrate are discussed in detail. Special attention is paid to the effect of the out-of-plane deformation of the substrate on the constituent edge forces and the resultant edge force. The results show that the deformation may lead to a significant redistribution of the constituent edge forces but does not change the resultant edge force, suggesting that particular caution should be exercised in designing nanodevices based on sliding graphene layers to avoid potential edge damage.

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Figures

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Fig. 1

A contact system with a nanolayer on substrate. The edge of the nanolayer feels a force that is dependent on the temperature and stiffness of the substrate. When there is a gradient of temperature or stiffness in the substrate, the unbalanced edge forces generate a net driving force for moving the nanolayer along the gradient direction (i.e., nanoscale thermophoresis or nanodurotaxis).

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Fig. 2

The simulation model. (a) A graphene flake 10 nm long and 6.3 nm wide, containing 2460 atoms, is in contact with a spring-supported graphene substrate 40 nm long and 6.3 nm wide, composed of 9776 atoms. (b) All atoms in the graphene substrate are linked to linear springs with an identical stiffness k which prescribed stiffness.

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Fig. 3

Distribution of the interlayer shear force on the graphene flake. Significantly large constituent edge forces can be clearly observed. The positive sign means that the force is directed in the z-direction.

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Fig. 4

Approximately linear temperature dependence of the constituent edge forces exerted on the first (a), second (b), third (c), and fourth (d) rings of the graphene flake on spring supported graphene substrate

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Fig. 5

Stiffness dependence of the constituent edge forces exerted on the first (a), second (b), third (c), and fourth (d) rings of the graphene flake on spring supported graphene substrate

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Fig. 6

The adhesion-induced out-of-plane deformation of the substrate near the flake edge is strongly dependent on the stiffness (a), but insensitive to the temperature (b) of the substrate

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Fig. 7

Contribution from each ring of the substrate atoms to the shear forces on the first edge ring of the graphene flake at 300 K. (a) Simulation results and (b) schematic illustration of the mechanism that gives rise to asymmetric shear forces on the edge of a nanolayer.

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Fig. 8

The resultant edge force (per unit width) increases linearly with the temperature (a) but decreases with the stiffness (b) of the substrate

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