Sliding Avalanches between Nacreous Tablets

Saleh Alghamdi, Zhuang Liu, Fen Du, Jie Yang, Karin A. Dahmen, Ting Tan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Nacre, also known as mother of pearl, possesses extraordinary mechanical properties resulting from its intriguing hierarchical brick-and-mortar microstructures. Despite prior studies, interactions between nanoasperities during sliding still need to be elucidated. In this study, we measure slip events between nanograins of microlayers at high temporal resolution during torsion-induced sliding. We model the slips as avalanches caused by interactions of atoms on nanograin surfaces, from which power laws and scaling functions describing statistics and dynamics of slip events are studied. The largest avalanche occurs when nanograins leave each other after the maximum contact. The agreement between measurements and predictions shows that avalanches act essentially in the inhomogeneous sliding of nacreous tablets. Further insights into nanofriction provided in this work may lead to the development of nanoscale tribological systems.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)5024-5029
Number of pages6
JournalNano letters
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 8 2020


  • Avalanche
  • Laminated Nanomaterials
  • Mean-Field Theory
  • Nacre
  • Torsion

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Bioengineering
  • Chemistry(all)
  • Materials Science(all)
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Mechanical Engineering

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