pp 1–13 | Cite as

Experimental and numerical study on surface roughness of magnetorheological elastomer for controllable friction

  • Rui Li
  • Xi Li
  • Yuanyuan Li
  • Ping-an YangEmail author
  • Jiushan Liu
Open Access
Research Article


Magnetorheological elastomer (MRE) is a type of smart material of which mechanical and electrical properties can be reversibly controlled by the magnetic field. In this study, the influence of the magnetic field on the surface roughness of MRE was studied by the microscopic modeling method, and the influence of controllable characteristics of the MRE surface on its friction properties was analyzed by the macroscopic experimental method. First, on the basis of existing studies, an improved mesoscopic model based on magnetomechanical coupling analysis was proposed. The initial surface morphology of MRE was characterized by the W-M fractal function, and the change process of the surface microstructures of MRE, induced by the magnetic interaction between particles, was studied. Then, after analyzing the simulation results, it is found that with the increase in the magnetic field and decrease in the modulus of rubber matrix, the surface of MRE changes more significantly, and the best particle volume fraction is within 7.5%–9%. Furthermore, through experimental observation, it is found that the height of the convex peak on the surface of MRE decreases significantly with the action of the magnetic field, resulting in a reduction in the surface roughness. Consistent with the simulation results, a particle volume fraction of 10% corresponds to a maximum change of 14%. Finally, the macroscopic friction experiment results show that the friction coefficients of MREs with different particle volume fractions all decrease with the decrease in surface roughness under the magnetic field. When the particle volume fraction is 10%, the friction coefficient can decrease by 24.7% under a magnetic field of 400 mT, which is consistent with the trend of surface roughness changes. This shows that the change in surface morphology with the effect of the magnetic field is an important factor in the control of MRE friction properties by magnetic field.


controllable friction surface roughness magnetorheological elastomer (MRE) mesoscopic model coupled magneto-mechanical analysis numerical simulation 



This work was supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (No. 11572320), Science and Technology Research Project of Chongqing Municipal Education Commission (No. KJQN201800644), and Special Key Project of Technological Innovation and Application Development in Chongqing (cstc2019jscx-fxyd0005). The authors thank professor Xiaojie WANG from Institute of Advanced Manufacturing Technology, Hefei Institutes of Physical Science, Chinese Academy of Sciences and associate professor Shiwei CHEN from Chongqing Institute of Science and Technology for the support and fruitful discussions.


  1. [1]
    Jolly M R, Carlson J D, Muñoz B C, Bullions T A. The magnetoviscoelastic response of elastomer composites consisting of ferrous particles embedded in a polymer matrix. J Intell Mater Syst Struct, 7(6): 613–622 (1996)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. [2]
    Chirila P E, Chirica I, Beznea E F. Damping properties of magnetorheological elastomers. Adv Mater Res, 1143: 247–252 (2017)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. [3]
    Chen S W, Wang X J, Zhang Z, Mu W J, Li R. Optimal design of laminated-MRE bearings with multi-scale model. Smart Mater Struct, 25(10): 105037 (2016)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. [4]
    Li R, Mu W J, Zhang L Y, Wang X J. Design and testing performance of a magneto-rheological elastomer isolator for a scaled bridge system. J Intell Mater Syst Struct, 29(2): 171–182 (2017)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. [5]
    Lindler J E, Dimock G A, Wereley N M. Design of a magnetorheological automotive shock absorber. In Proceedings Volume 3985, Smart Structures and Materials 2000: Smart Structures and Integrated Systems, Newport Beach, United States, 2000: 426–437.Google Scholar
  6. [6]
    Ginder J M, Schlotter W F, Nichols M E. Magnetorheological elastomers in tunable vibration absorbers. In Proceedings Volume 4331, Smart Structures and Materials 2001: Damping and Isolation, Newport Beach, United States, 2001: 103–110.Google Scholar
  7. [7]
    Geng J L, Wang C P, Zhu H L, Wang X J. Effect of the carbonyl iron particles on acoustic absorption properties of magnetic polyurethane foam. In Proceedings Volume 10596, Behavior and Mechanics of Multifunctional Materials and Composites XII, Denver, United States, 2018: 116–126.Google Scholar
  8. [8]
    Li R, Zhou M J, Wang M L, Yang P A. Study on a new self-sensing magnetorheological elastomer bearing. AIP Adv, 8(6): 065001 (2018)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. [9]
    Yu M, Yang P A, Fu J, Liu S Z, Qi S. Study on the characteristics of magneto-sensitive electromagnetic wave-absorbing properties of magnetorheological elastomers. Smart Mater Struct, 25(8): 085046 (2016)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. [10]
    Sedlacik M, Mrlik M, Babayan V, Pavlinek V. Magnetorheological elastomers with efficient electromagnetic shielding. Compos Struct, 135: 199–204 (2016)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. [11]
    Lee D W, Lee K, Lee C H, Kim C H, Cho W O. A study on the tribological characteristics of a magneto-rheological elastomer. J Tribol, 135(1): 014501 (2012)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. [12]
    Shaha K P, Pei Y T, Martinez-Martinez D, De Hosson J T M. Influence of hardness and roughness on the tribological performance of TiC/a-C nanocomposite coatings. Surf Coat Technol, 205(7): 2624–2632 (2010)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. [13]
    Zhang Y, Dong M, Gueye B, Ni Z H, Wang Y J, Chen Y F. Temperature effects on the friction characteristics of graphene. Appl Phys Lett, 107(1): 011601 (2015)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. [14]
    Yoo S S, Kim D E. Effects of vibration frequency and amplitude on friction reduction and wear characteristics of silicon. Tribol Int, 94: 198–206 (2016)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. [15]
    Feng D, Shen M X, Peng X D, Meng X K. Surface roughness effect on the friction and wear behaviour of acrylonitrile-butadiene rubber (NBR) under oil lubrication. Tribol Lett, 65(1): 10 (2017)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. [16]
    Lian C L, Lee K H, Lee C H. Friction and wear characteristics of magneto-rheological elastomers based on silicone/polyurethane hybrid. J Tribol, 137(3): 031607 (2015)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. [17]
    Lian C L, Lee K H, Lee C H. Friction and wear characteristics of magnetorheological elastomer under vibration conditions. Tribol Int, 98: 292–298 (2016)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. [18]
    Lian C L, Lee K H, Lee C H. Effect of temperature and relative humidity on friction and wear properties of silicone-based magnetorheological elastomer. Tribol Trans, 61(2): 238–246 (2018)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. [19]
    Gong X L, Liao G J, Xuan S H. Full-field deformation of magnetorheological elastomer under uniform magnetic field. Appl Phys Lett, 100(21): 211909 (2012)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. [20]
    Lee S, Yim C, Kim W, Jeon S. Magnetorheological elastomer films with tunable wetting and adhesion properties. ACS Appl Mater Interfaces, 7(35): 19853–19856 (2015)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. [21]
    Sorokin V V, Sokolov B O, Stepanov G V, Kramarenko E Y. Controllable hydrophobicity of magnetoactive elastomer coatings. J Magn Magn Mater, 459: 268–271 (2018)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. [22]
    Sánchez P A, Minina E S, Kantorovich S S, Kramarenko E Y. Surface relief of magnetoactive elastomeric films in a homogeneous magnetic field: Molecular dynamics simulations. Soft Matter, 15(2): 175–189 (2019)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. [23]
    Chen S W, Li R, Li X, Wang X J. Magnetic field induced surface micro-deformation of magnetorheological elastomers for roughness control. Front Mater, 5: 76 (2018)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. [24]
    Danas K, Kankanala S V, Triantafyllidis N. Experiments and modeling of iron-particle-filled magnetorheological elastomers. J Mech Phys Solids, 60(1): 120–138 (2011)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. [25]
    Martin J E, Anderson R A, Read D, Gulley G. Magnetostriction of field-structured magnetoelastomers. Phys Rev E Stat Nonlin Soft Matter Phys, 74(5): 051507 (2006)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. [26]
    Yin X, Komvopoulos K. An adhesive wear model of fractal surfaces in normal contact. Int J Solids Struct, 47(7–8): 912–921 (2010)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. [27]
    Zhang X H, Xu Y, Jackson R L. An analysis of generated fractal and measured rough surfaces in regards to their multi-scale structure and fractal dimension. Tribol Int, 105: 94–101 (2017)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. [28]
    Chen W W, Sun L Y, Li X H, Wang D F. Numerical investigation on the magnetostrictive effect of magnetosensitive elastomers based on a magneto-structural coupling algorithm. Smart Mater Struct, 22(10): 105012 (2013)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. [29]
    Ly H V, Reitich F, Jolly M R, Banks H T, Ito K. Simulations of particle dynamics in magnetorheological fluids. J Comput Phys, 155(1): 160–177 (1999)MathSciNetCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. [30]
    Yi H, Hong W, Faidley L E. Field-stiffening effect of magneto-rheological elastomers. Int J Solids Struct, 50(14–15): 2281–2288 (2013)Google Scholar

Copyright information

© The author(s) 2019

Open Access This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, which permits use, sharing, adaptation, distribution and reproduction in any medium or format, as long as you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons licence, and indicate if changes were made.

The images or other third party material in this article are included in the article’s Creative Commons licence, unless indicated otherwise in a credit line to the material. If material is not included in the article’s Creative Commons licence and your intended use is not permitted by statutory regulation or exceeds the permitted use, you will need to obtain permission directly from the copyright holder.

To view a copy of this licence, visit

Authors and Affiliations

  • Rui Li
    • 1
    • 2
  • Xi Li
    • 1
    • 2
  • Yuanyuan Li
    • 2
  • Ping-an Yang
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  • Jiushan Liu
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.Key Laboratory of Industrial Internet of Things & Networked Control, Ministry of EducationChongqing University of Posts and TelecommunicationsChongqingChina
  2. 2.School of AutomationChongqing University of Posts and TelecommunicationsChongqingChina

Personalised recommendations