Skip to main content
U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government

Official websites use .gov
A .gov website belongs to an official government organization in the United States.

Secure .gov websites use HTTPS
A lock ( ) or https:// means you’ve safely connected to the .gov website. Share sensitive information only on official, secure websites.

Estimation of Contact Area of Nanoparticles in Chains Using Continuum Elastic Contact Mechanics



Jaroslaw Grobelny, Pradeep N. Namboodiri, Doo-In Kim


The key challenge in understanding the nanomechanical behavior of nanoparticle chains is strongly dependent on accurate determination of the contact area between individual particles. Experimental determination of the contacting radius is extremely difficult and often not reliable. We present calculations based on elastic contact mechanics model to predict the contact radii of nanoparticles. The model considers important parameters such as the particle size, elastic property of the materials and the effect of humidity that intervenes between the contacts. Calculations carried out for four selected materials show that there is a large difference between the radii of contacts formed in vacuum and ambient condition. In vacuum, the surface energy of the material is higher compared to that in ambient condition and the contact formation is dominated by the strong interactions between the surfaces. In ambient condition, the contact is dominated by the Laplace pressure due to the condensed water meniscus between the contacts. Calculations presented in this paper show that the contact radius between nanoparticles depends on materials properties and the environment.
Journal of Nanoparticle Research


adhesion, contact area, contact mechanics, nanoparticles


Grobelny, J. , Namboodiri, P. and Kim, D. (2008), Estimation of Contact Area of Nanoparticles in Chains Using Continuum Elastic Contact Mechanics, Journal of Nanoparticle Research (Accessed April 22, 2024)
Created June 19, 2008, Updated February 19, 2017