Tribology Letters

, Volume 19, Issue 1, pp 29–36 | Cite as

Effect of capillary formation on friction and pull-off forces measured on submicron-size asperities


Asperities with hemispherical peaks were fabricated on a silicon substrate using a focused ion beam. Pull-off and friction forces were measured on each asperity using atomic force microscopy (AFM) in high vacuum (HV) of 2 × 10−5 Pa. The probe of the AFM cantilever had a flat square tip, approximately 1 × 1 μm2 in area. The radius of curvature of the asperity peaks ranged from 70 to 610 nm. The results showed that the pull-off force was roughly proportional to this radius. The friction force was proportional to the pull-off force. Effects of the substrate temperature on pull-off force on a plane (the flat substrate) and friction force on an asperity were also examined. The pull-off force on the flat substrate increased with increasing contact time at a substrate temperature of 100 °C or lower, but was independent of contact time at 190 °C or higher. This suggests that the capillary cannot form at a substrate temperature of 190 °C or higher. The friction force increased with lower sliding velocities at 100 °C or lower, suggesting the capillary has a lubricating effect that prevents direct solid contact.


Laplace pressure relative humidity atomic force microscope high temperature high vacuum water condensation 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, Inc. 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Tribology GroupNational Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology (AIST)TsukubaJapan

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