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Modulating Friction Using Structured Surfaces

Anand Jagota Lehigh University (USA)

Near-surface structuring of elastomers has been studied intensively in the past decade to control their adhesion against a variety of surfaces. Less attention has been paid to the effect of surface structuring on frictional properties, especially against rough surfaces. This presentation will discuss work conducted in our group over the past few years on frictional properties of three types of structured surfaces :
a) Film-terminated fibrils and ridge-channel structues,
b) Flat surfaces with periodic variation in properties, and
c) Ridge-channel surfaces
We show that, depending on the choice of structure and its dimensions, friction can be strongly enhanced or strongly attenuated. For example, certain film-terminated ridge-channel structures show highly-enhanced sliding friction accompanied by complex internal deformation. Other surfaces show strong reduction in friction, while some ridge-channel structures show friction enhancement against rough surfaces. These results offer ideas for novel designs by which to control friction.