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Issue 13, 2014
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Frictional auto-roughening of a surface with spatially varying stiffness

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Abstract

We show that significant reduction of sliding friction can be achieved between a rigid surface and a flat elastic surface by spatial variation in stiffness of the latter. This reduction in friction during sliding occurs due to an “auto-roughening” phenomenon in which a fully connected contact region breaks into partial contact. An elastomer, poly(dimethylsiloxane) (PDMS), was used to fabricate nominally flat surfaces with regions of two different stiffness, achieved by using two different concentrations of the cross-linker. Both experiments and finite element simulation show that, for sufficiently high friction and low normal load, the real contact area between a rigid indenter and a surface with spatially varying stiffness is reduced significantly due to auto-roughening. The finite element model also shows how the auto-roughening depends on the properties and geometry of interfacial structures, resulting in reduced overall friction.

Graphical abstract: Frictional auto-roughening of a surface with spatially varying stiffness

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Publication details

The article was received on 14 Nov 2013, accepted on 06 Jan 2014 and first published on 07 Jan 2014


Article type: Paper
DOI: 10.1039/C3SM52878B
Citation: Soft Matter, 2014,10, 2169-2177

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    Frictional auto-roughening of a surface with spatially varying stiffness

    Y. Bai, A. Jagota and C. Hui, Soft Matter, 2014, 10, 2169
    DOI: 10.1039/C3SM52878B

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