Molecular Dynamics Simulations of Glycerol Monooleate Confined between Mica Surfaces

Joshua L. Bradley-shaw, Philip J. Camp, Peter J. Dowding, Ken Lewtas

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The structure and frictional properties of glycerol monooleate (GMO) in organic solvents, with and without water impurity, confined and sheared between two mica surfaces are examined using molecular dynamics simulations. The structure of the fluid is characterized in various ways, and the differences between systems with nonaggregated GMO and with preformed GMO reverse micelles are examined. Preformed reverse micelles are metastable under static conditions in all systems. In n-heptane under shear conditions, with or without water, preformed GMO reverse micelles remain intact and adsorb onto one surface or another, becoming surface micelles. In dry toluene, preformed reverse micelles break apart under shear, while in the presence of water, the reverse micelles survive and become surface micelles. In all systems under static and shear conditions, nonaggregated GMO adsorbs onto both surfaces with roughly equal probability. Added water is strongly associated with the GMO, irrespective of shear or the form of the added GMO. In all cases, with increasing shear rate, the GMO molecules flatten on the surface, and the kinetic friction coefficient increases. Under low-shear conditions, the friction is insensitive to the form of the GMO added, whereas the presence of water is found to lead to a small reduction in friction. Under high-shear conditions, the presence of reverse micelles leads to a significant reduction in friction, whereas the presence of water increases the friction in n-heptane and decreases the friction in toluene.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)7707-7718
Issue number31
Publication statusPublished - 18 Jul 2016


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