Tribology Letters

, Volume 48, Issue 1, pp 27–32 | Cite as

On the Propagation of Slip Fronts at Frictional Interfaces

  • David S. Kammer
  • Vladislav A. Yastrebov
  • Peter Spijker
  • Jean-François Molinari
Original Paper


The dynamic initiation of sliding at planar interfaces between deformable and rigid solids is studied with particular focus on the speed of the slip front. Recent experimental results showed a close relation between this speed and the local ratio of shear to normal stress measured before slip occurs (static stress ratio). Using a two-dimensional finite element model, we demonstrate, however, that fronts propagating in different directions do not have the same dynamics under similar stress conditions. A lack of correlation is also observed between accelerating and decelerating slip fronts. These effects cannot be entirely associated with static local stresses but call for a dynamic description. Considering a dynamic stress ratio (measured in front of the slip tip) instead of a static one reduces the above-mentioned inconsistencies. However, the effects of the direction and acceleration are still present. To overcome this, we propose an energetic criterion that uniquely associates, independently on the direction of propagation and its acceleration, the slip front velocity with the relative rise of the energy density at the slip tip.


Dynamic modelling Friction mechanisms Contact mechanics Stick–slip Stress analysis 



The authors are grateful to D. Coker for fruitful discussions and N. Richart for helpful advices on the simulations. The research described in this article is supported by the European Research Council (ERCstg UFO-240332).


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • David S. Kammer
    • 1
  • Vladislav A. Yastrebov
    • 1
  • Peter Spijker
    • 1
  • Jean-François Molinari
    • 1
  1. 1.Computational Solid Mechanics LaboratoryEcole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne, EPFL, LSMS, IIC-ENAC, IMX-STILausanneSwitzerland

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