Tribology Letters

, 59:1 | Cite as

A Technique for the Experimental Determination of the Length and Strength of Adhesive Interactions Between Effectively Rigid Materials

  • Tevis D. B. JacobsEmail author
  • Joel A. Lefever
  • Robert W. CarpickEmail author
Methods Paper


To describe adhesion between bodies of known arbitrary shape and known elastic properties, contact mechanics models require knowledge or assumptions of a minimum of two parameters, the strength of the adhesive interaction (characterized by the intrinsic work of adhesion W adh,int) and the length scale of the interaction (described by the range of adhesion z 0). One parameter can easily be measured if the other is estimated or assumed, but experimental techniques for determining both simultaneously are lacking. Here, we demonstrate a novel technique—called the Snap-in/pull-off Numerical Adhesion Parameter method—for experimentally determining both parameters simultaneously using adhesion measurements performed with an atomic force microscope probe whose geometry has been characterized. The method applies to materials that approach the rigid limit (high elastic moduli). The technique is explained and validated analytically for simple shapes (flat punch, paraboloid, and right cone), and trends in results are compared against prior literature. This approach allows calculation of the adhesion parameters to enable prediction of adhesion behavior, including for advanced technology applications.


Adhesion Nanoscale Work of adhesion Range of adhesion AFM TEM 



The authors acknowledge useful discussions with K. Turner and D. Grierson. R.W.C and T.D.B.J. acknowledge support from National Science Foundation under award No. CMMI12-00093. R.W.C., T.D.B.J., and J.A.L. acknowledge support from the UPenn MRSEC Program of the National Science Foundation under award No. DMR11-20901. R.W.C acknowledges support from AFOSR under Contract No. FA2386-14-1-4071 AOARD.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Mechanical Engineering and Materials ScienceUniversity of PittsburghPittsburghUSA
  2. 2.Department of Materials Science and EngineeringUniversity of PennsylvaniaPhiladelphiaUSA
  3. 3.Department of Mechanical Engineering and Applied MechanicsUniversity of PennsylvaniaPhiladelphiaUSA

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