Tribometer for In Situ Scanning Electron Microscopy of Microstructured Contacts
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- Murarash, B. & Varenberg, M. Tribol Lett (2011) 41: 319. doi:10.1007/s11249-010-9717-y
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Here, we report on a special tribometer built to operate inside an environmental scanning electron microscope enabling charge-free imaging of non-conductive and/or hydrated materials. The device is intended to be used for simultaneous testing and in situ visual inspection of biological and biomimetic patterned surfaces during contact formation, pulling-off, peeling, and shearing modeling the behavior of biological microstructured attachment systems in nature. To demonstrate its performance, a simple array of hexagonal elastomer micropillars is tested. The results obtained show that direct link between precise data on the contact forces and images of the contact elements deformed by these forces indeed allows getting an insight into how contact surface patterns function when in contact.