Coupling mechanical frictional contact with interfacial fluid flow at small and large scales

Abstract : This thesis deals with the problem of a thin fluid flow in narrow interfaces between contacting solids subject to a normal loading, which is relevant for a range of tribological and engineering applications, as well as for geophysical sciences. The treatment of this problem requires coupling between fluid and solid mechanics, further complicated by contact constraints and potentially complex geometrical features of contacting surfaces. In this thesis a monolithic finite-element framework for handling frictional contact, thin incompressible viscous flow and transfer of fluid-induced tractions to the solid is developed. Additionally, we considered fluid entrapment in "pools" delimited by contact patches and formulated a novel trapped-fluid element using a non-linear compressible constitutive law. This computational framework makes use of image analysis algorithms to distinguish between contact, fluid flow and trapped fluid zones. The constructed framework is suitable for both one- and two-way coupling approaches. First, the developed framework was applied to a study of a fluid trapped between a deformable solid with a wavy surface and a rigid flat. We showed how the contact area and the global coefficient of friction evolve under increasing external load, depending on fluid and solid properties and on the slope of the surface profile. Next, we studied a thin fluid flow between a rigid flat and a deformable solid with a model geometry or random surface roughness. An approximate analytical solution for the fluid flow across a wavy contact interface was derived and compared with numerical results. We showed that for a range of physically relevant parameters, one-way coupling underestimates the interface permeability and the critical external load needed to seal the interface, compared to the two-way approach. A refined non-local phenomenological law for macroscopic permeability of rough contact interfaces was proposed. Finally, the developed framework was used to calculate the evolution of the fluid leakage through a metal-to-sapphire contact interface using an elasto-plastic material behaviour and real measurements of surface roughness.
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Andrei Shvarts. Coupling mechanical frictional contact with interfacial fluid flow at small and large scales. Computational Physics [physics.comp-ph]. PSL Research University, 2019. English. ⟨NNT : 2019PSLEM009⟩. ⟨tel-02396951⟩

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