Rolling, sliding and torsion of micron-sized silica particles: Experimental, numerical and theoretical analysis

  • Fuchs R
  • Weinhart T
  • Meyer J
 et al. 
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The contact mechanics of individual, very small particles with other particles and walls is studied using a nanoindenter setup that allows normal and lateral displacement control and measurement of the respective forces. The sliding, rolling and torsional forces and torques are tested with borosilicate microspheres, featuring radii of about 10$\mu$m. The contacts are with flat silicon substrates of different roughness for pure sliding and rolling and with silicon based, ion-beam crafted rail systems for combined rolling and torsion. The experimental results are discussed and compared to various analytical predictions and contact models, allowing for two concurrent interpretations of the effects of surface roughness, plasticity and adhesion. This enables us to determine both rolling and torsion friction coefficients together with their associated length scales. Interestingly, even though normal contacts behave elastically (Hertzian), all other modes of motion display effects due to surface roughness and consequent plastic deformation. The influence of adhesion is interpreted in the framework of different models and is very different for different degrees of freedom, being largest for rolling.

Author-supplied keywords

  • Adhesion
  • Contact mechanics
  • Friction
  • Granular solids
  • Nanoindentation
  • Tribology

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