Coupling Molecular Dynamics and Micromechanics for the Assessment of Friction and Damage Accumulation in Diamond-Like Carbon Thin Films Under Lubricated Sliding Contacts

Timo J. Hakala, Kenneth Holmberg, Anssi Laukkanen (Corresponding Author)

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

7 Citations (Scopus)
53 Downloads (Pure)


Diamond-like carbon (DLC) coatings have proven to be an excellent thin film solution for reducing friction of tribological systems as well as providing resistance to wear. These characteristics yield greater efficiency and longer lifetimes of tribological contacts with respect to surface solutions targeting for example automotive applications. However, the route from discovery to deployment of DLC films has taken its time and still the design of these solutions is largely done on a trial-and-error basis. This results in challenges both in designing and optimizing DLC films for specific applications and limits the understanding, and subsequently exploitation, of many of the underlying physical mechanisms responsible for its favorable frictional response and high resistance to various types of wear. In current work multiscale modeling is utilized to study the friction and wear response of DLC thin films in dry and lubricated contacts. Atomic scale mechanisms responsible for friction due to interactions between the sliding surfaces and shearing of the amorphous carbon surface are utilized to establish frictional response for microstructure scale modeling of DLC to DLC surface contacts under dry and graphene lubricated conditions. Then at the coarser microstructural scale both structure of the multilayer, substrate and surface topography of the DLC coating are incorporated in studying of the behavior of the tribosystem. A fracture model is included to evaluate the nucleation and growth of wear damage leading either to loss of adhesion or failure of one of the film constituents. The results demonstrate the dependency of atomistic scale friction on film characteristics, particularly hybridization of bonding and tribochemistry. The microstructure scale modeling signifies the behavior of the film as a tribosystem, the various material properties and the surface topography interact to produce the explicitly modeled failure response. Ultimately, the work contributes towards establishing multiscale modeling capabilities to better understand and design novel DLC material solutions for various tribological applications.
Original languageEnglish
Article number30
Pages (from-to)1-18
Number of pages18
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 5 Mar 2021
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed


  • diamond-like carbon
  • multiscale modeling
  • thin films
  • molecular dynamics
  • finite element method
  • microstructure
  • friction
  • hard coatings
  • integrated computational materials engineering


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