Tribology Letters

, 28:183 | Cite as

Friction Study of a Ni Nanodot-patterned Surface

  • Hengyu Wang
  • Rahul Premachandran Nair
  • Min Zou
  • Preston R. Larson
  • Andrew L. Pollack
  • K. L. Hobbs
  • Mathew B. Johnson
  • O. K. Awitor
Original Paper


Nanoscale frictional behavior of a Ni nanodot-patterned surface (NDPS) was studied using a TriboIndenter by employing a diamond tip with a 1 μm nominal radius of curvature. The Ni NDPS was fabricated by thermal evaporation of Ni through a porous anodized aluminum oxide (AAO) template onto a Si substrate. Surface morphology and the deformation of the NDPS were characterized by scanning electron microscopy (SEM) and atomic force microscopy (AFM), before and after friction/scratch testing. SEM images after scratching clearly showed that, similar to what was assumed at the macroscale, the frictional force is proportional to the real area of contact at the nanoscale. It was found that adhesion played a major role in the frictional performance, when the normal load was less than 20 μN and plastic deformation was the dominant contributor to the frictional force, when the normal load was between 60 μN and 125 μN. Surprisingly, a continuum contact mechanics model was found to be applicable to the nanoscale contact between the tip and the inhomogeneous Ni NDPS at low loads. The coefficient of friction (COF) was also found to depend on the size of the tip and was four times the COF between a 100 μm tip and the Ni NDPS. Finally, the critical shear strength of the Ni nanodots/Si substrate interface was estimated to be about 1.24 GPa.


Friction Nanoscale Nickel Nanodot-patterned surface Nano-patterning Anodized aluminum oxide (AAO) 



We thank Arkansas Biosciences Institute and the University of Arkansas for major equipment funding support. We also thank the support by NSF under award CMS-0600642 and the support of the Center for Semiconductor Physics in Nanostructures (C-SPIN), an OU/UA NSF-funded MRSEC (DMR-0520550).


  1. 1.
    Rabinowicz, E.: Friction and Wear of Materials, 2nd edn. Wiley, New York (1995)Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    Persson B.N.J., Tosatt E. (eds.): Physics of Sliding Friction. Kluwer Academic Publishers, Dordrecht (1996)Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    Corwin, A.D., de Boer, M.P.: Effect of adhesion on dynamic and static friction in surface micromachining. Appl. Phys. Lett. 84, 2451–2453 (2004)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. 4.
    Komvopoulos, K.: Adhesion and friction forces in microelectromechanical systems: mechanisms, measurement, surface modification techniques, and adhesion theory. J. Adhes. Sci. Technol. 17, 477–517 (2003)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. 5.
    Zou, M., Wang, H., Larson, P.R., Hobbs, K.L., Johnson, M.B., Awitor, O.K.: Ni nanodot-patterned surfaces for adhesion and friction reduction. Tribol. Lett. 24, 137–142 (2006)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. 6.
    Zou, M., Cai, L., Wang, H.: Adhesion and friction studies of a nano-textured surface produced by spin coating of colloidal silica nanoparticle solution. Tribol. Lett. 21, 25–30 (2006)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. 7.
    Grierson, D.S., Flater, E.E., Carpick, R.W.: Accounting for the JKR-DMT transition in adhesion and friction measurements with atomic force microscopy. J. Adhes. Sci. Technol. 19, 291–311 (2005)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. 8.
    Johnson, K.L.: Contact Mechanics. Cambridge University Press, New York (1987)Google Scholar
  9. 9.
    Johnson, K.L., Kendall, K., Roberts, A.D.: Surface energy and the contact of elastic solids. Proc. R. Soc. Lond. A 324, 301–313 (1971)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. 10.
    Derjaguin, B.V., Muller, V.M., Toporov, Yu.P.: Effect of contact deformations on the adhesion of particles. J. Colloid Interf. Sci. 53, 314–326 (1975)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. 11.
    Maugis, D.: Adhesion of spheres: The JKR-DMT transition using a dugdale model. J. Colloid Interf. Sci. 150, 243–269 (1992)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. 12.
    Carpick, R.W., Ogletree, D.F., Salmeron, M.: A general equation for fitting contact area and friction vs load measurements. J. Colloid Interf. Sci. 211, 395–400 (1999)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. 13.
    Suh, N.P., Sin, H.-C.: The genesis of friction. Wear 69, 91–114 (1981)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. 14.
    Komvopoulos, K., Saka, N., Suh, N.P.: The mechanism of friction in boundary lubrication. ASME J. Tribol. 107, 452–461 (1985)Google Scholar
  15. 15.
    Saka, N., Suh, N.P.: Plowing friction in dry and lubricated metal sliding. ASME J. Tribol. 108, 301–313 (1986)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. 16.
    Courtney, T.H.: Mechanical Behavior of Materials, 2nd edn. McGraw-Hill, New York (2000)Google Scholar
  17. 17.
    Agrawal, D.C., Raj, R.: Ultimate shear strengths of copper-silica and nickel-silica interfaces. Mater. Sci. Eng. A 126, 125–131 (1990)CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  • Hengyu Wang
    • 1
  • Rahul Premachandran Nair
    • 1
  • Min Zou
    • 1
  • Preston R. Larson
    • 2
  • Andrew L. Pollack
    • 2
  • K. L. Hobbs
    • 2
  • Mathew B. Johnson
    • 2
  • O. K. Awitor
    • 3
  1. 1.Department of Mechanical EngineeringUniversity of ArkansasFayettevilleUSA
  2. 2.Department of Physics & AstronomyUniversity of OklahomaNormanUSA
  3. 3.Département Mesures, PhysiquesUniversité d’AuvergneClermontFrance

Personalised recommendations