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Adhesion and Debonding of Soft Elastic Films: Crack Patterns, Metastable Pathways, and Forces

Sarkar, Jayati and Sharma, Ashutosh and Shenoy, Vijay (2005) Adhesion and Debonding of Soft Elastic Films: Crack Patterns, Metastable Pathways, and Forces. In: Langmuir, 21 (4). pp. 1457-1469.

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We study the phenomenon of debonding in a thin soft elastic film sandwiched between two rigid plates as one of the plates is brought into intimate contact and then pulled away from contact proximity by application of a normal force. Nonlinear simulations based on minimization of total energy (composed of stabilizing elastic strain energy and destabilizing adhesive interaction energy) are employed to address the problems of contact hysteresis, cavitation, crack morphology, variation of contact area, snap-off distance, pull-off force, work done, and energy loss. Below a critical distance $(d_{c})$ upon approach, simulations show the formation of columnar structures and nonrandom, regularly arranged nanocavities at the soft interface at a length scale of ${\sim}3h$ (h being the thickness of the film). The persistence of such instability upon withdrawal $(distance{\gg}d_{c})$ indicates a contact hysteresis, which is caused by an energy barrier that separates the metastable states of the patterned configuration and the global minimum state of the flat film. The energy and the pull-off force are found to be nonequilibrium and nonunique properties depending on the initial contact, defects, noise, etc. Three broad pathways of debonding leading to adhesive failure of the interface, depending on the stiffness of the film, step size of withdrawal, and the imposed noise, are identified: a catastrophic column collapse mode, a peeling mode involving a continuous decrease in the contact area, and a column splitting mode. The first two modes are caused by a very high stress concentration near the cavity edges. These metastable patterned configurations engender pull-off forces that are orders of magnitude smaller than that required to separate two flat surfaces from contact.

Item Type: Journal Article
Publication: Langmuir
Publisher: American Chemical Society
Additional Information: Copyright of this article belongs to American Chemical Society.
Department/Centre: Division of Chemical Sciences > Materials Research Centre
Date Deposited: 02 Dec 2008 11:32
Last Modified: 19 Sep 2010 04:53
URI: http://eprints.iisc.ac.in/id/eprint/16684

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