Vapor bubble nucleation by rubbing surfaces: Molecular dynamics simulations

T. Ito, H.E. Lhuissier, S. Wildeman, Detlef Lohse

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)


We propose a new mechanism for bubble nucleation triggered by the rubbing of solid surfaces immersed in a liquid, in which the fluid molecules squeezed between the solids are released with high kinetic energy into the bulk of the liquid, resulting in the nucleation of a vapor bubble. Molecular dynamics simulations with a superheated Lennard-Jones fluid are used to evidence this mechanism. Nucleation is observed at the release of the squeezed molecules, for squeezing pressures above a threshold value and for all the relative velocities between the solids that we investigate. We show that the total kinetic energy of the released molecules for a single release event is proportional to the number of molecules released, which depends on the squeezing pressure, but is independent of the velocity.
Original languageEnglish
Article number032003
Pages (from-to)-
Number of pages12
JournalPhysics of fluids
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2014


  • IR-90676
  • METIS-303091


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