Static adhesion hysteresis in elastic structures†
Adhesive interactions between elastic structures such as graphene sheets, carbon nanotubes, and microtubules have been shown to exhibit hysteresis due to irrecoverable energy loss associated with bond breakage, even in static (rate-independent) experiments. To understand this phenomenon, we start with a minimal theory for the peeling of a thin sheet from a substrate, coupling the local event of bond breaking to the nonlocal elastic relaxation of the sheet and show that this can drive static adhesion hysteresis over a bonding/debonding cycle. Using this model we quantify hysteresis in terms of the adhesion and elasticity parameters of the system. This allows us to derive a scaling relation that preserves hysteresis at different levels of granularity while resolving a seeming paradox of lattice trapping in the continuum limit of a discrete fracture process. Finally, to verify our theory, we use new experiments to demonstrate and measure adhesion hysteresis in bundled microtubules.