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Friction of Poroelastic Contacts with Thin Hydrogel Films

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journal contribution
posted on 20.07.2018, 00:00 by Jessica Delavoipière, Yvette Tran, Emilie Verneuil, Bertrand Heurtefeu, Chung Yuen Hui, Antoine Chateauminois
We report on the frictional behavior of thin poly­(dimethylacrylamide) hydrogel films grafted on glass substrates in sliding contact with a glass spherical probe. Friction experiments are carried out at various velocities and normal loads applied with the contact fully immersed in water. In addition to friction force measurements, a novel optical setup is designed to image the shape of the contact under steady-state sliding. The velocity dependence of both friction force Ft and contact shape is found to be controlled by a Péclet number, Pe, defined as the ratio of the time τ needed to drain the water out of the contact region to a contact time a/v, where v is the sliding velocity and a is the contact radius. When Pe < 1, the equilibrium circular contact achieved under static normal indentation remains unchanged during sliding. Conversely, for Pe > 1, a decrease in the contact area is observed together with the development of a contact asymmetry when the sliding velocity is increased. A maximum in Ft is also observed at Pe ≈1. These experimental observations are discussed in the light of a poroelastic contact model based on a thin-film approximation. This model indicates that the observed changes in contact geometry are due to the development of a pore pressure imbalance when Pe > 1. An order-of-magnitude estimate of the friction force and its dependence on normal load and velocity are also provided under the assumption that most of the frictional energy is dissipated by poroelastic flow at the leading and trailing edges of the sliding contact.