Sliding Without Slipping Under Coulomb Friction: Opening Waves and Inversion of Frictional Force
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An elastic layer slides on a rigid flat governed by Coulomb’s friction law. We demonstrate that if the coefficient of friction is high enough, the sliding localizes within stick–slip pulses, which transform into opening waves propagating at intersonic speed in the direction of sliding or, for high Poisson’s ratios, at supersonic speed in the opposite direction. This sliding mode, characterized by marginal frictional dissipation, and similar to carpet fold propagation, may result in inversion of the frictional force direction; at longer time intervals, the system demonstrates stick–slip behavior. The mechanism is described in detail, and a parametric study is presented.