Nanoscale friction characteristics of hydrated montmorillonites using molecular dynamics

Peng Chang Wei, Li Lan Zhang, Yuan Yuan Zheng, Qiu Feng Diao, Dao Yang Zhuang, Zhen Yu Yin

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

7 Citations (Scopus)


The interparticle friction behavior of saturated clay controls its mechanical properties, but remains unclear at nanoscale. As one of major clay minerals, the hydrated montmorillonite (MMT) is selected to investigate the nanoscale friction characteristics using Molecular Dynamics simulation method. Two portions of MMT representing two particles with a water film in the middle are created to simulate an undrained system. A virtual spring is applied on the upper MMT portion to provide the sliding with a constant velocity relative to the bottom portion. The effects of normal load and sliding velocity on the frictional behavior are then investigated. The friction coefficients of hydrated MMT at different cases were measured and compared with other experimental and simulation results for the validation. The evolution of normal load with the number of hydrogen bonds for hydrated MMT was finally analyzed. All simulation results indicated that the friction load fluctuated periodically with a cycle of about 9.10 Å at sliding velocity inferior 0.001 Å•fs−1, which was nearly equal to montmorillonite's lattice constant along the sliding direction; the fluctuation amplitude of the friction load increased with the decreasing sliding velocity; the relationship between the average friction load and the logarithm of sliding velocity followed a power function; the friction coefficient and the cohesion were found to increase approximately linearly with sliding velocity.

Original languageEnglish
Article number106155
JournalApplied Clay Science
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sept 2021


  • Hydrated montmorillonite
  • Molecular Dynamics
  • Nanoscale friction
  • Normal load
  • Sliding velocity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geology
  • Geochemistry and Petrology


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