Study of Adhesion and Friction Properties on a Nanoparticle Gradient Surface: Transition from JKR to DMT Contact Mechanics
We have previously investigated the dependence of adhesion on nanometer-scale surface roughness by employing a roughness gradient. In this study, we correlate the obtained adhesion forces on nanometer-scale rough surfaces to their frictional properties. A roughness gradient with varying silica particle (diameter ≈ 12 nm) density was prepared, and adhesion and frictional forces were measured across the gradient surface in perfluorodecalin by means of atomic force microscopy with a polyethylene colloidal probe. Similarly to the pull-off measurements, the frictional forces initially showed a reduction with decreasing particle density and later an abrupt increase as the colloidal sphere began to touch the flat substrate beneath, at very low particle densities. The friction?load relation is found to depend on the real contact area (Areal) between the colloid probe and the underlying particles. At high particle density, the colloidal sphere undergoes large deformations over several nanoparticles, and the contact adhesion (JKR type) dominates the frictional response. However, at low particle density (before the colloidal probe is in contact with the underlying surface), the colloidal sphere is suspended by a few particles only, resulting in local deformations of the colloid sphere, with the frictional response to the applied load being dominated by long-range, noncontact (DMT-type) interactions with the substrate beneath.