Off-campus UMass Amherst users: To download dissertations, please use the following link to log into our proxy server with your UMass Amherst user name and password.

Non-UMass Amherst users, please click the view more button below to purchase a copy of this dissertation from Proquest.

(Some titles may also be available free of charge in our Open Access Dissertation Collection, so please check there first.)

The frictional response of patterned soft polymer surfaces

Charles J Rand, University of Massachusetts Amherst


Friction plays an intricate role in our everyday lives, it is therefore critical to understand the underlying features of friction to better help control and manipulate the response anywhere two surfaces in contact move past each other by a sliding motion. Here we present results targeting a thorough understanding of soft material friction and how it can be manipulated with patterns. We found that the naturally occurring length scale or periodicity (λ) of frictionally induced patterns, Schallamach waves, could be described using two materials properties (critical energy release rate Gc and complex modulus (E*), i.e. λ∞ Gc /E*). Following this, we evaluated the effect of a single defect at a sliding interface. Sliding over a defect can be used to model the sliding from one feature to another in a patterned surface. Defects decreased the sliding frictional force by as much as 80% sliding and this decrease was attributed to changes in tangential stiffness of the sliding interface. The frictional response of surface wrinkles, where multiple edges or defects are acting in concert, was also evaluated. Wrinkles were shown to decrease friction (F) and changes in contact area (A) could not describe this decrease. A tangential stiffness correction factor (fx) and changes in the critical energy release rate were used to describe this deviation (F ∞ Gc *A*fx/ℓ, where ℓ is a materials defined length scale of dissipation). This scaling can be used to describe the friction of any topographically patterned surface including the Gecko's foot, where the feature size is smaller than ℓ and thus replaces ℓ, increasing the friction compared to a flat surface. Also, mechanically-induced surface defects were used to align osmotically driven surface wrinkles by creating stress discontinuities that convert the global biaxial stress state to local uniaxial stresses. Defect spacing was used to control the alignment process at the surface of the wrinkled rigid film/soft elastomer interface. These aligned wrinkled surfaces can be used to tune the adhesion and friction of an interface. The work presented here gives insight into tuning the friction of a soft polymeric surface as well as understanding the friction of complex hierarchical structures.^

Subject Area

Materials science

Recommended Citation

Rand, Charles J, "The frictional response of patterned soft polymer surfaces" (2008). Doctoral Dissertations Available from Proquest. AAI3339557.