Design of bidirectional frictional behaviour for tactile contact using ellipsoidal asperity micro-textures

Dmitrii Sergachev*, David Matthews, Emile Van Der Heide

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)
106 Downloads (Pure)


Tactile perception and friction can be modified by producing a deterministic surface topography. Change of surface feature arrangement and texture symmetry can produce an anisotropic frictional behaviour. It is generally achieved through skin hysteresis by promoting its deformation. This work investigates whether a bidirectional friction can be created with microscale ellipsoidal asperity textures, thus relying on the adhesive component of friction. For this purpose, four textured samples with various asperity dimensions were moulded with a silicone rubber having an elastic modulus comparable to that of the skin. Coefficient of friction measurements were conducted in-vivo in two sliding directions with a range of normal loads up to 4 N. Finite element method (FEM) was used to study elastic deformation effects, explain the observed friction difference, and predict surface material influence. Measurements performed perpendicular to the asperity major radii showed consistently higher friction coefficients than that during parallel sliding. For the larger asperity dimensions, a change of the sliding direction increased friction up to a factor of 2. The numerical analysis showed that this effect is mostly related to elastic asperity deflection. Bidirectional friction differences can be further controlled by asperity dimensions, spacing, and material properties.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)762–771
Number of pages10
Issue number5
Early online date9 Sept 2021
Publication statusPublished - May 2022


  • elastomer
  • skin friction
  • sliding direction
  • surface texture
  • UT-Gold-D


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