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Newtonian mechanics in scale of minutia

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journal contribution
posted on 21.05.2009, 12:58 by M. Teodorescu, Homer Rahnejat
This article commemorates Newton's contributions to mechanics in small scale. In particular, it deals with Newtonian slow viscous action of fluids in narrow conjunctions leading to hydrodynamics. It is shown that the Newtonian continuum relies on some bulk properties of fluids as opposed to their molecular interactions. When the latter and surface energy effects become dominant, the interaction potentials deviate from the Newtonian continuum. A plethora of largely empirically based force laws are used to describe conjunctional behaviours in nanoscale, usually lightly loaded. Some of these force laws are described, and their applicability to nanoconjunctions of very small devices and some biological systems is noted. In general, a thorough understanding of all the involved kinetics is required. Representative problems in soft nanoscale contacts in normal (humid) atmosphere are highlighted in the article. It is shown that contact load/adhesion depends on several key parameters including surface roughness, surface free energy, atmospheric moisture, and normal approach velocity.



  • Mechanical, Electrical and Manufacturing Engineering


TEODORESCU, M. and RAHNEJAT, H., 2008. Newtonian mechanics in scale of minutia. Proceedings of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers, Part K: Journal of Multi-body Dynamics, 222 (4), pp. 393-405


Professional Engineering Publishing / © IMECHE


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This article was published in the Journal, Proceedings of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers, Part K: Journal of Multi-body Dynamics [© IMECHE]. The definitive version is available at: