Rate-dependent elastic hysteresis during the peeling of pressure sensitive adhesives
The modelling of the adherence energy during peeling of Pressure Sensitive Adhesives (PSA) has received much attention since the 1950's, uncovering several factors that aim at explaining their high adherence on most substrates, such as the softness and strong viscoelastic behaviour of the adhesive, the low thickness of the adhesive layer and its confinement by a rigid backing. The more recent investigation of adhesives by probe-tack methods also revealed the importance of cavitation and stringing mechanisms during debonding, underlining the influence of large deformations and of the related non-linear response of the material, which also intervenes during peeling. Although a global modelling of the complex coupling of all these ingredients remains a formidable issue, we report here some key experiments and modelling arguments that should constitute an important step forward. We first measure a non-trivial dependence of the adherence energy on the loading geometry, namely through the influence of the peeling angle, which is found to be separable from the peeling velocity dependence. This is the first time to our knowledge that such adherence energy dependence on the peeling angle is systematically investigated and unambiguously demonstrated. Secondly, we reveal an independent strong influence of the large strain rheology of the adhesives on the adherence energy. We complete both measurements with a microscopic investigation of the debonding region. We discuss existing modellings in light of these measurements and of recent soft material mechanics arguments, to show that the adherence energy during peeling of PSA should not be associated to the propagation of an interfacial stress singularity. The relevant deformation mechanisms are actually located over the whole adhesive thickness, and the adherence energy during peeling of PSA should rather be associated to the energy loss by viscous friction and by rate-dependent elastic hysteresis.