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Experimental Investigation of the Correlation Between Adhesion and Friction Forces

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In this study, the effect of adhesion on evolution of friction during the transition of the contact from pre-sliding into full sliding was investigated. In order to achieve the objectives, a micro optical friction (MOF) apparatus was developed to conduct dry sliding friction experiments and to allow for in situ visualization of the contact area for a sphere-on-flat configuration. MOF apparatus was used to measure friction under various load and speed combinations. The friction results exhibit the commonly observed behavior in friction (i.e., static friction is larger than dynamic friction). The results also demonstrated that the difference between static and dynamic friction forces increased with an increase in the applied normal load. We hypothesize and demonstrate that the difference between the measured maximum friction force commonly referred to as static friction force and the steady state or dynamic friction force divided by the dynamic coefficient of friction is the force of adhesion. The adhesion force results obtained from our experimental investigation corroborate well with the force of adhesion described by the DMT model. The reduction in friction force is attributed to the diminishing of adhesion force during full sliding of the contact.

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\(a_{\text{H}}\) :

Hertzian contact radius

\(a_{\text{DMT}}\) :

Contact radius predicted by the DMT theory

A ap :

Apparent contact area

E :

Equivalent Young’s modulus, \(\frac{1}{{E^{'} }} = \frac{1}{2}\left( {\frac{{1 - \nu_{\text{s}}^{2} }}{{E_{\text{s}} }} + \frac{{1 - \nu_{\text{p}}^{2} }}{{E_{\text{p}} }}} \right)\)

E s, E p :

Young’s moduli of the sphere and plane

f d :

Dynamic friction force

f max :

Maximum friction force

F a :

Frictional force caused by adhesion

F ad :

Force of adhesion

F d :

Frictional force caused by elastic deformation

F f :

Total friction force

F n :

Applied normal force


Numerical aperture of the microscope objective

R :

Radius of the sphere

δ i :

Input tangential displacement amplitude

δ o :

Output tangential displacement

λ :

Wavelength of light

μ d :

Dynamic coefficient of friction

ν s, ν p :

Poisson’s ratio of the sphere and plane


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The authors would like to express their deepest appreciations to the SKF Company for their support of this project.

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Correspondence to Farshid Sadeghi.

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Alazemi, A.A., Ghosh, A., Sadeghi, F. et al. Experimental Investigation of the Correlation Between Adhesion and Friction Forces. Tribol Lett 62, 30 (2016). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11249-016-0679-6

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  • Friction
  • Adhesion
  • Contact area
  • Sphere-on-flat contact