Brooklyn Noble

  • Program Year: 3
  • Academic Institution: University of Utah
  • Field of Study: Nanotribology
  • Academic Advisor: Bart Raeymaekers
  • Practicum(s):
    Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (2016)
  • Degree(s):
    B.S. Mechanical Engineering, The University of Utah, 2014

Summary of Research

Understanding the physical behavior of polymer-based lubricants on the nanoscale is of critical importance to a myriad of engineering applications and devices that involve the design of complex, ultra-thin lubricant systems in extreme environments, including micro and nanoelectromechanical systems (MEMS/NEMS), nanoimprint lithography, anti-biofouling/fouling-resistant coatings, machining, and hard disk drives. For instance, the functionality of many silicon-based MEMS/NEMS devices is dependent on mechanically interacting surfaces and, thus, the devices are subject to friction and wear. While used for its excellent electrical properties, the tribological properties of silicon are less favorable, and an ultra-thin lubricant film is often used to improve functionality and reliability of MEMS/NEMS devices. The objective of this research project is to test the hypothesis that molecular dynamics (MD) simulations can be used to simulate and understand the nanoscale mechanics of ultra-thin polymer-based lubricant films.

This research is important because it attempts to address fundamental science questions underlying lubrication theory on the nanoscale using a combined modeling and experimental approach. The surface-to-volume ratio of objects and devices increases with decreasing length scale, making friction, wear, and lubrication of increased concern at the nanoscale. Nanoscale lubrication phenomena such as stepped-formations and molecular entanglement have been observed in lubricant spreading experiments, but have never been explained. This research focuses on using a stochastic MD modeling approach to create a fundamental atomistic explanation of these observed nanoscale phenomena, while comparing the modeling results to experimental data. The ultimate goal of the research is to apply this fundamental understanding to provide design guidelines for ultra-thin lubricant systems for nanoscale applications.

The impact of the proposed research is not limited to improving existing devices and technologies, but could also spur progress in other research fields, such as miniaturization of electronic components and the implementation of previously unattainable technologies such as nanoscale-motors and biomedical nano-devices.

Publications

Journal publications:

Noble, B.A, Mate, C.M., Raeymaekers, B. (2017) Spreading kinetics of ultrathin liquid films using molecular dynamics. Langmuir, 33 (14), 3476-3483.

Noble, B.A., Ovcharenko, A., & Raeymaekers, B. (2016) Terraced spreading of nanometer-thin lubricant using molecular dynamics. Polymer, 84, 286-292.

Noble, B.A., Ovcharenko, A., & Raeymaekers, B. (2014) Quantifying lubricant droplet spreading on a flat disk using molecular dynamics. Applied Physics Letters, 105, 151601.

Noble, B.A, Choe, D.-O., & Jevremovic, T. (2012) Experimental and MCNP5 based evaluation of neutron and gamma flux in the irradiation ports of the University of Utah research reactor, Nuclear Technology & Radiation Protection, 27, 222-228.

Conference presentations:

Noble, B.A. Spreading of ultrathin polymer films on nanotextured substrates using molecular dynamics, Society of Tribologists and Lubrication Engineers Annual Meeting, Minneapolis, MN. 24 May 2018

Noble, B.A., Haxhimali, T., Rudd, R.E., & Whitley, H.D. Shear viscosity of asymmetric strongly coupled dense plasmas, Stewardship Science Graduate Fellowship Program Review, Santa Fe, NM. 22 June 2017

Noble, B.A. Spreading kinetics of ultrathin polymer-based lubricant films using molecular dynamics, Society of Tribologists and Lubrication Engineers Annual Meeting, Atlanta, GA. 25 May 2017

Noble, B.A., Haxhimali, T., Rudd, R.E., & Whitley, H.D. Shear viscosity of asymmetric strongly coupled dense plasmas, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory Student Poster Symposium, Livermore, CA. 4 Aug 2016

Noble, B.A. Terraced spreading of nanometer-thin lubricant using molecular dynamics, Stewardship Science Graduate Fellowship Program Review, Las Vegas, NV. 28 June 2016

Noble, B.A. Terraced spreading of nanometer-thin lubricant using molecular dynamics, Tribology Frontiers Conference, Denver, CO. 26 Oct 2015

Noble, B.A. Quantifying lubricant droplet spreading on a flat disk using molecular dynamics, Society of Tribologists and Lubrication Engineers Annual Meeting, Dallas, TX. 18 May 2015

Noble, B.A. Simulating lubricant mobility in the head/disk interface with molecular dynamics, Western Digital Technologies Inc., San Jose, CA. 24 June 2014

Noble, B.A. Using molecular dynamics to quantify lubricant transfer, University of Utah Undergraduate Research Symposium, Salt Lake City, UT. 1 April 2014

Noble, B.A. Cadmium ratio in UUTR thermal irradiator: MCNP5 modeling and comparison with experimental measurement, American Nuclear Society Student Conference, Las Vegas, NV. 13 April 2012

Awards

Department of Energy National Nuclear Security Administration Stewardship Science Graduate Fellowship, 2015

National Science Foundation Fellowship (award not accepted), 2015

National Defense Science and Engineering Graduate Fellowship (award not accepted), 2015

ASME Tribology Division Travel Scholarship, 2015

Undergraduate Research Opportunity Program (UROP) recipient, 2014

Undergraduate Research Scholar Designation, 2014

Graduate Cum Laude, University of Utah, 2014

Nuclear Energy University Programs Scholarship, 2013-2014

Nuclear Energy University Programs Scholarship, 2012-2013

IM Flash Technologies Scholarship, 2012-2013

University of Utah Dean's List, 2011-2014

Honors at Entrance Scholarship, 2011-2014

Merrill Engineering Scholarship, 2011-2012

Williams Companies Inc. Endowed Scholarship in the College of Engineering, 2011-2012

Weber State University High Honor Award, 2011

Weber State University Presidential Scholarship, 2009-2011