Project title: Design principles for low-friction polymer brushes as a synthetic analogue of cartilage

Supervisors: Stefano Angioletti-Uberti and Daniele Dini

Project description:
The articular cartilage found covering the ends of bones in the synovial joints of mammals exhibit exceptional lubricating properties even when subjected to substantial normal loads. The objective of this project is to study this system using coarse-grained non-equilibrium molecular dynamics simulations in an effort to better understand the microscopic mechanisms responsible for these excellent tribological properties. The system is modelled as two opposing polymer brushes that are subjected to compression and shear. The focus is on determining the influence of the architecture of the polymers grafted on the surfaces on the frictional response of the system, thus providing rational design principles for synthesising cartilage analogues.