Enhancement of elastohydrodynamic friction by elastic hysteresis in a periodic structure†
Lubricated contacts are present in many engineering and biological systems involving soft solids. Typical mechanisms considered for controlling the sliding friction in such lubricated conditions involve bulk material compliance, fluid viscosity, viscoelastic response of the material (hysteretic friction), and breaking of the fluid film where dry contact occurs (adhesive friction). In this work we show that a two-phase periodic structure (TPPS), with a varying modulus across the sliding surface, provides significant enhancement of lubricated sliding friction when the system is in the elastohydrodynamic lubrication (EHL) regime. We propose that the enhanced friction is due to extra energy loss during periodic transitions of the sliding indenter between the compliant and stiff regions during which excess energy is dissipated through the fluid layer. This is a form of elastic hysteresis that provides a novel mechanism for friction enhancement in soft solids under lubricated conditions.