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Journal club for December 2023 : Recent trends in modeling of asperity-level wear

Ernest Rabinowicz’s words, spoken two decades ago in his groundbreaking textbook on the friction and wear of materials [1], continue to resonate today: ’Although wear is an important topic, it has never received the attention it deserves.’ Rabinowicz’s work laid the foundation for contemporary tribology research [2]. Wear, characterized as the removal and deformation of material on a surface due to the mechanical action of another surface, carries significant consequences for the economy, sustainability, and poses health hazards through the emission of small particles. According to some estimates [1, 3], the economic impact is substantial, accounting for approximately 5% of the Gross National Product (GNP).

Despite its paramount importance, scientists and engineers often shy away from wear analysis due to the intricate nature of the underlying processes. Wear is often perceived as a ”dirty” topic, and with good reason. It manifests in various forms, each with its own intricacies, arising from complex chemical and physical processes. These processes unfold at different stages, creating a time-dependent phenomenon influenced by key parameters such as sliding velocity, ambient or local temperature, mechanical loads, and chemical reactions in the presence of foreign atoms or humidity.

The review paper by Vakis et al. [5] provides a broad perspective on the complexity of tribology problems. This complexity has led to numerous isolated studies focusing on specific wear mechanisms or processes. The proliferation of empirical wear models in engineering has resulted in an abundance of model variables and fit coefficients [6], attempting to capture the intricacies of experimental data.

Tribology faces a fundamental challenge due to the multitude of interconnected scales. Surfaces exhibit roughness with asperities occurring at various wavelengths. Only a small fraction of these asperities come into contact, and an even smaller fraction produces wear debris. The reasons behind why, how, and when this occurs are not fully understood. The debris gradually alter the surface profile and interacts with one another, either being evacuated from the contact interface or gripping it, leading to severe wear. Due to this challenge of scales, contributions of numerical studies in wear research over the past decades sum up to less than 1% (see Fig. 1). Yet, exciting opportunities exist for modeling, which we attempt to discuss here.

While analyzing a single asperity contact may not unveil the entire story, it arguably represents the most fundamental level to comprehend wear processes. This blog entry seeks to encapsulate the authors’ perspective on this rapidly evolving topic. Acknowledging its inherent bias, the aim is to spark controversies and discussions that contribute to a vibrant blogosphere on the mechanics of the process.

The subsequent section delves into the authors’ endeavors in modeling adhesive wear at the asperity level. Section 3 navigates the transition to abrasive wear, while Section 4 explores opportunities for upscaling asperity-level mechanisms to the meso-scale, with the aspiration of constructing predictive models. Lastly, although the primary focus of this blog entry is on modeling efforts, it would be remiss not to mention a few recent advances on the experimental front.

Xuanhe Zhao's picture

MIT Mechanical Engineering faculty search

The MIT Department of Mechanical Engineering (@MITMechE) seeks candidates for faculty positions starting July 1, 2024 or on a mutually agreed date thereafter. More Info + Apply: Questions:

Joshua's picture

Ph.D. position for September 2024

S-Lab at Shanghai Jiao Tong University is opening one Ph.D. position for “mechanical metamaterials.”  The applicants should have a master’s degree by August 2024.

Send an application package (Letter of Intent and CV) to before 12/6, 2023.


Jiawei Yang's picture

Fully funded PhD/Postdoc positions in mechanics of soft materials and soft materials for health at Worcester Polytechnic Institute

The Jiawei Yang lab in the Department of Mechanical and Materials Engineering at Worcester Polytechnic Institute has two fully funded PhD/Postdoc positions, starting in Fall 2024 or on a mutually agreed date. We aim to build an interdisciplinary research team, focusing on the Multiscale Engineering of Soft Material Systems, and developing high-performance, bio-integrated, and bio-interfacing soft material systems for health.

Wenbin Yu's picture

Global Composites Experts Webinar by Dr. Gregory M. Odegard

cdmHUB invites you to attend the Global Composites Experts Webinar Series. 

Title: US-COMP: Next Generation of Composites Materials for Crewed Deep Space Missions

Speaker:  Dr.  Gregory M. Odegard, Michigan Technological University

Time: 12/14, 11AM-12PM EST.

Register in advance for this webinar:

PhD/postdoc openings (University of Minnesota) on the multi-physics modeling and inverse characterization on reaction-driven cracking

Successful applicants will work on the mechanics and thermodynamics of porous solids undergoing reactive flow within the scope of the DOE-funded center on Geo-processes in Mineral Carbon Storage (GMCS, The mission of GMCS is to develop the fundamental science and engineering capability that will lead to realizing the full potential for large-scale subsurface storage of CO2 via mineralization.

Postdoc on elastic metamaterials at the University of Trento (Italy)

A Postdoc position is available at the Excellence Department of Civil, Environmental and Mechanical Engineering of the Università di Trento, Italy to work with the Coordinator prof. Nicola Pugno on a EU-funded H2020 FET Open project on elastic metamaterials entitled "BOHEME: Bioinspired Hierarchical Metamaterials" and its follow up.

bazant's picture

Postdoc in fracture and advanced inter-disciplinary solid mechanics at Northwestern University, Evanston, working with Professor Zdenek P. Bazant

The postdoctoral fellow will work principally but not exclusively on a DoE funded multi-university project aimed at solving a variety of problems of CO2 sequestration in deep geologic formations. It will involve prediction of growth of hydraulic fracture network in porous rock, poromechanical stress transfer due to fluid diffusion, osmotic pressure gradients, and chemically expanding inclusions. Ramifications to various fracture problems of concrete, fiber composite structures and shale strata, supported by NSF, may be pursued.

George Moutsanidis's picture

PhD position in Smoothed Particle Hydrodynamics for Coastal FSI at Stony Brook University

A fully supported PhD position in Smoothed Particle Hydrodynamics (SPH) for coastal fluid-structure interaction (FSI) is available in the Department of Civil Engineering at Stony Brook University. The successful applicant will work under the supervision of Dr. George Moutsanidis focusing on the development of numerical methods for coastal FSI. The desired start date is Fall 2024.

Minimum Qualifications:

·       MS degree in Engineering, Applied Mathematics, or related field

Emilio Martínez Pañeda's picture

Postdoc position at the University of Oxford on modeling hydrogen-assisted fractures

Dear iMechanicians,

Let me bring to your attention the following postdoc position in my lab at the University of Oxford:

I am looking for an enthusiastic postdoc to conduct finite element simulations to predict hydrogen embrittlement. The closing date is November 29.

Prof Emilio Martinez-Paneda
University of Oxford

Zheng Jia's picture

EML Webinar Young Researchers Forum by Diego Misseroni, on 28 November 2023: Reprogrammable Frustration, Multistability, and Tunable Auxeticity in Origami Metamaterials

EML Webinar (Young Researchers Forum) on 28 November 2023 will be given by Diego Misseroni at University of Trento via Zoom meeting

Title: Reprogrammable Frustration, Multistability, and Tunable Auxeticity in Origami Metamaterials

Discussion leader: Glaucio Paulino, Princeton University

Join Our Team at Daedalus

We are hiring ! 

We're excited to announce an opening for a Postdoctoral Researcher with expertise in Mechanics or Optics. Whether your strength lies in experimental techniques or computational methods, we welcome your application.

Start Date: Immediate

Keywords: Mechanics, Optics, Machine Learning

More info:

Multiple Ph.D. Positions at Georgia Tech in Computational Design and Mechanical Metamaterials

Our lab Computational Design & Metamaterial Lab warmly invites applications from students with backgrounds in mechanics, aerospace engineering, computer science, materials, polymers, and related fields.

What are metamaterials?

Metamaterials are a class of structural materials with exotic properties, where their macroscopic physical characteristics arise from the precise geometric design of their microstructures.

jeonghoonsong's picture

Ph.D. Opening (Civil Eng./CU Boulder) in Innovative Structural Materials Design and Inverse characterization

We have an opening for Graduate Research Assistant (at Ph.D.-level) to conduct research in areas related to innovative structural materials design and inverse characterization, specifically:

- New structural materials for energy storage applications, and
- Inverse characterization of chemo-mechanical process with multi-sensing data.

Dibakar Datta's picture

Ph.D. Position at NJIT, New Jersey, USA in Computational Nanomechanics/Materials


The Department of Mechanical and Industrial Engineering ( at the New Jersey Institute of Technology ( has an opening for a fully funded Ph.D. position.  The position will start in Spring 2024/Fall 2024. Interested candidates should apply as soon as possible. 

Dibakar Datta's picture

Assistant/Associate/Full Professor in Mechanical Engineering at the New Jersey Institute of Technology (NJIT)


Position Summary: 
The Mechanical and Industrial Engineering Department at the New Jersey Institute of Technology (NJIT) invites applications for a tenure-track position at the Assistant/Associate or Full Professor level in the areas of Artificial Intelligence/Data Science/Machine Learning as applied to Mechanical Engineering.

Chandima Uyanage's picture

Global Webinar - An Efficient Analysis Approach for RTM Simulation

This webinar will showcase simulation techniques to predict the quality of your RTM molded product without excessive reliance on actual tests.

Save the date: 28 November 2023 at 3 PM JST ⇒ Register from here

Webinar Abstract

Hangbo Zhao's picture

Postdoc position in soft robotics at USC

We have a postdoc opening in the Zhao Research Group ( at University of Southern California. The succesful candidate will develop novel dexterous soft robotic manipulators incorporating advanced sensors and actuators. This is a multi-year, fully funded position, which is available immediately. Candidates should have prior research experience in soft robotics.

Ramathasan Thevamaran's picture

Block copolymer additives for toughening 3D printable epoxy resin

Dear Colleagues,

Please see our recent article on toughening 3D printable resins with block copolymer additives:


H.Chen's picture

PhD openings in Computational Solid Mechanics and Methods at University of Kentucky

The Computational Mechanics and Methods (CM3) Group in the Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering at the University of Kentucky is seeking highly self-motivated individuals who have great interest in the broad research areas of computational solid mechanics and methods. Interested individuals should send a detailed CV and both undergraduate and graduate transcripts to Dr. Chen at

Hamid.Akbarzadeh's picture

PhD Position at McGill University in Multifunctional Architected Metamaterials

One PhD position is available for Fall 2024 at McGill University in collaboration between Advanced Multifunctional and Multiphysics Metamaterials Lab (Department of Bioresource Engineering) and Mine Multiphysics Lab (Department of Mining and Materials Engineering). The research topic is on the area of Architected Mechanical Metamaterials for energy and electronics applications.

Antonio Papangelo's picture

PhD position in bio-adhesion

Dear friends and colleagues, there is a new open position in soft contact mechanics in my group! We are looking for a motivated mechanical engineer (or alike) to contribute to cutting edge research on adhesion with biological tissue. We aim at developing soft micro-structured bio-compatible adhesive patch and scaffolds to be used for tissue re-attachment after injuries.


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