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Issue 19, 2016
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Surface tension regularizes the crack singularity of adhesion

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The elastic and adhesive properties of a solid surface can be quantified by indenting it with a rigid sphere. Indentation tests are classically described by the JKR-law when the solid is very stiff, while recent work highlights the importance of surface tension for exceedingly soft materials. Here we show that surface tension plays a crucial role even in stiff solids: Young's wetting angle emerges as a boundary condition and this regularizes the crack-like singularity at the edge of adhesive contacts. We find that the edge region exhibits a universal, self-similar structure that emerges from the balance of surface tension and elasticity. The similarity theory is solved analytically and provides a complete description of adhesive contacts, by which we reconcile global adhesion laws and local contact mechanics.

Graphical abstract: Surface tension regularizes the crack singularity of adhesion

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Publication details

The article was received on 21 Dec 2015, accepted on 01 Apr 2016 and first published on 01 Apr 2016

Article type: Paper
DOI: 10.1039/C5SM03079J
Citation: Soft Matter, 2016,12, 4463-4471

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    Surface tension regularizes the crack singularity of adhesion

    S. Karpitschka, L. van Wijngaarden and J. H. Snoeijer, Soft Matter, 2016, 12, 4463
    DOI: 10.1039/C5SM03079J

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