Mechanics of contact and adhesion between viscoelastic spheres: An analysis of hysteresis during loading and unloading

Yu-Yun Lin, C. Y. Hui

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

36 Citations (Scopus)


Detailed finite element simulations are carried out to study the adhesive contact of viscoelastic spheres. The spheres are brought into contact by a compressive force that increases at a constant rate. Upon reaching a maximum load, the spheres are unloaded until they separate. We studied in detail the effect of loading and unloading rates on hysteresis and on the pull-off force for a standard viscoelastic solid. The surface interaction is modeled by the Dugdale-Barenblatt model. Numerical results are compared with analytical models for bonding and debonding, including a recent theory proposed by Johnson. There is excellent agreement between analytical and finite element results for the bonding phase. However, for the debonding phase, current analytical models break down unless the loading and unloading rates are slow in comparison with the material relaxation time. Based on the finite element results, a simple approximate analytical model is proposed to quantify adhesive contact in the debonding phase. We also examine the dependence of hysteresis on interfacial parameters such as the cohesive strength and the intrinsic work of adhesion. Our results show that viscoelastic adhesive contact depends on the details of the surface interaction and cannot be determined solely by the work of adhesion.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)772-793
Number of pages22
JournalJournal of Polymer Science, Part B: Polymer Physics
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - 2002 May 1

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry
  • Polymers and Plastics
  • Materials Chemistry

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