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review paper: The role of adhesion in contact mechanics

Mike Ciavarella's picture

Journal of The Royal Society Interface 16(151), February 2019.    DOI: 10.1098/rsif.2018.0738

Michele Ciavarella Junki Joe Junki Joe Antonio Papangelo James Richard Barber

Adhesive (e.g. van der Waals) forces were not generally taken into account in contact mechanics until 1971, when Johnson, Kendall and Roberts (JKR) generalized Hertz’ solution for an elastic sphere using an energetic argument which we now recognize to be analogous to that used in linear elastic fracture mechanics. A significant result is that the load–displacement relation exhibits instabilities in which approaching bodies ‘jump in’ to contact, whereas separated bodies ‘jump out’ at a tensile ‘pull-off force’. The JKR approach has since been widely used in other geometries, but at small length scales or for stiffer materials it is found to be less accurate. In conformal contact problems, other instabilities can occur, characterized by the development of regular patterns of regions of large and small traction. All these instabilities result in differences between loading and unloading curves and consequent hysteretic energy losses. Adhesive contact mechanics has become increasingly important in recent years with the focus on soft materials (which generally permit larger areas of the interacting surfaces to come within the range of adhesive forces), nano-devices and the analysis of bio-systems. Applications are found in nature, such as insect attachment forces, in nano-manufacturing, and more generally in industrial systems involving rubber or polymer contacts. In this paper, we review the strengths and limitations of various methods for analysing contact problems involving adhesive tractions, with particular reference to the effect of the inevitable roughness of the contacting surfaces.



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