Local friction of rubber with rough surfaces

This project is devoted to the local analysis of steady-state friction within contact interfaces formed between smooth rubber surfaces and rigid rough counterfaces. The local friction law is determined from spatially resolved measurements of the displacement field at the surface of the soft rubber substrate.

with Christian Fretigny, D.T. Nguyen, V. Romero, M. Trejo, S. Yashima and V. Acito


Collaboration with Alexis Prevost, Elie Vandersman (Laboratoire Jean Perrin, UPMC), Manoj Chaudhury (Lehigh Univ, USA), Nic Spencer (ETH Zürich) and Michele Ciavarella (Polytechnico di Bari, Italia)


We are investigating the friction of rubber with rough rigid surfaces at length scales ranging from the macroscopic contact size (i.e. in the millimeter range) down to micrometer scale. For that purpose, we have developed contact imaging techniques which allow to determine the friction induced surface displacement field within contacts between rubbers and glass surfaces. Then, the corresponding interface stress field is determined from an inversion of the measured displacement field.

Using this methodology, we investigate the local friction law, i.e. the relationship between the local shear stress and contact pressure, within frictional contacts between a smooth silicone rubber and randomly rough (Gaussian) glass surfaces. Independently of the statistical characteristics of the rough surfaces (Gaussian or not) the local frictional shear stress is found to vary sub-linearly with the local contact pressure, demonstrating that, for such multi-contact interfaces, Amontons-Coulomb’s friction law does not prevail at the local scale. More generally, these experimental results establish the existence of scale effects in friction laws.


Local friction law within a frictional contact between a smooth silicone rubber and a sand blasted lens (rms roughness about 1 µm). Each color corresponds to a different experiments carried out at increasing normal loads.


Contact and friction of model statistically rough surfaces

we are also investigating normal contact and friction of model multicontact interfaces formed between smooth surfaces and substrates textured with a statistical distribution of spherical micro-asperities. Measurements of the real area of contact A versus normal load P are performed by imaging the light transmitted at the microcontacts. Comparison with two multi-asperity contact models, which extend the Greenwood–Williamson (J. Greenwood and J. Williamson, Proc. Royal Soc. London Ser. A, 295, 300(1966)) model by taking into account the elastic interaction between asperities at different length scales, are performed, and allows their validation for the first time. We find that long range elastic interactions arising from the curvature of the nominal surfaces are the main source of the non-linearity of A(P). At a shorter range, and except for very low pressures, the pressure dependence of both density and area of microcontacts remains well described by Greenwood-Williamson’s model, which neglects any interaction between asperities.
In collaboration with Michele Ciavarella, this work has been extended to adhesive contacts.


Model rough surface textured with spherical micro-asperities (size about 30 µm).

Related Publications


Adhesive contact of model randomly rough rubber surfaces
V. Acito, M. Ciavarella, A.M. Prévost and A. Chateauminois
Tribology Letters 67 (2019) 54


Soft Lithography Using Nectar Droplets
S. Biswas, A. Chakrabarti, A. Chateauminois, E. Wandersman, A. M. Prevost and M.K. Chaudhury
Langmuir 31 (2015) 13155−13164

Normal contact and friction of rubber with model randomly rough surfaces
S. Yashima, V. Romero, E. Wandersman, C. Frétigny, M.K. Chaudhury, A. Chateauminois and A.M. Prevost
Soft Matter 11 (2015) 871 - 881


Non-Amontons-Coulomb local friction law of randomly rough contact interfaces with rubber
D.T. Nguyen, E. Wandersman, A. Prevost, Y. Le Chenadec, C. Frétigny, A. Chateauminois
EPL 104 (2013) 64001


Friction of viscoelastic elastomers with rough surfaces under torsional contact conditions.
M. Trejo, C. Frétigny and A. Chateauminois
Physical Review E 88 (2013) 052401


Friction of rubber with surfaces patterned with rigid spherical asperities.
D.T. Nguyen, S. Ramakrishna, C. Fretigny, N.D. Spencer,Y. Le Chenadec, A. Chateauminois
Tribology Letters 49 (2013) 135-144


Surface pressure and shear stress field within a frictional contact on rubber.
D.T. Nguyen, P. Paolino, M-C. Audry, A. Chateauminois, C. Frétigny, Y. Le Chenadec, M. Portigliatti and E. Barthel
Journal of Adhesion 87 (2011) 235-250


Local friction at a sliding interface between an elastomer and a rigid spherical probe’
A. Chateauminois and C. Fretigny
European Physical Journal E 27 (2008) 221-227


See also...

Transient frictional processes

We investigate the dynamics of transient frictional processes such as the stiction of adhesive contacts or stick-slip motions. Both phenomena (...) 

> More...

Poroelastic friction of thin hydrogels layers

With Lola Ciapa, Jessica Delavoipière, Yvette Tran and Emilie Verneuil In collaboration with C.-Y. Hui, Cornell University We investigate the (...) 

> More...


Practical information

Sciences et Ingénierie de la Matière Molle

Soft Matter Enginering and Science Laboratory - UMR 7615

10 rue Vauquelin
75231 PARIS CEDEX 05

  • Chair : E. Barthel
  • Vice Chairs : J.B. d’Espinose & G. Ducouret
  • Administration : F. Decuq, M.-T. Mendy & M. Hirano-Courcot
  • Communication : A. Hakopian & M. Ciccotti
  • Information Technology : A. Hakopian
  • Safety, Health and Environment Assistant : F. Martin

Getting here