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On the Degree of Irreversibility of Friction in Sheared Soft Adhesive Contacts

Antonio Papangelo's picture

A number of authors have experimentally assessed the influence of friction on adhesive contacts, and generally the contact area has been found to decrease due to tangential shear stresses at the interface. The decrease is however generally much smaller than that predicted already by the Savkoor and Briggs 1977 classical theory using “brittle” fracture mechanics mixed mode model extending the JKR (Griffith like) solution to the contact problem. The Savkoor and Briggs theory has two strong assumptions, namely that (i) shear tractions are also singular at the interface, whereas they have been found to follow a rather constant distribution, and that (ii) no dissipation occurs in the contact. While assumption (ii) has been extensively discussed in the Literature the role of assumption (i) remained unclear. We show that assuming entirely reversible slip at the interface with a constant shear stress fracture mechanics model leads to results almost indistinguishable from the Savkoor and Briggs model (and further in disagreement with experiments), hence it is assumption (ii) that critically affects the results. We analyze a large set of experimental data from Literature and show that the degree of irreversibility of friction can vary by orders of magnitude, despite similar materials and geometries, depending on the velocity at which the tangential load is applied.

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