Surface engineering of tactile friction

Dmitrii Sergachev

Research output: ThesisPhD Thesis - Research UT, graduation UT

216 Downloads (Pure)


In everyday life, people interact with numerous products through touch. A massive amount of information is generated through such tactile contact with a product surface. Surfaces thus influence the perception of the product physical properties, grip performance and forces applied during object handling and manipulation.
The main aim of the current work is to control and enhance tactile perception through modification of the frictional behaviour by surface topography design. Following a systematic approach, an asperity and texture design was selected for this research. A contact model was developed to predict finger pad contact area on the micro- and macro- scales. The model was applied to understand the role of component parts in a tactile tribological system – namely to estimate skin elastic modulus, characterise skin deformation and determine the role of varying surface texture dimensions.
A significant influence of the skin contact state on tactile friction was shown experimentally. Deterministic surfaces, which remained in asperity contact, showed a considerable reduction of friction coefficient. A bidirectional frictional behaviour was achieved with ellipsoidal texture design and was correlated to the feature geometry and material properties. The friction measurements performed with a group of volunteers, with the aim of normalisation, show that the reference sample can be used to normalise and compare values between individuals.
A foundation for a texture design map is developed, towards establishing a connection between the texture dimensions and effects attributed to tactile friction. The design map can be used as a reference for the geometrical boundaries in surface texture design with the aim to control and predict frictional behaviour and to enhance tactile perception.
Original languageEnglish
QualificationDoctor of Philosophy
Awarding Institution
  • University of Twente
  • van der Heide, Emile, Supervisor
  • Matthews, David T.A., Co-Supervisor
Thesis sponsors
Award date2 Jul 2021
Place of PublicationEnschede
Print ISBNs978-90-365-5178-6
Publication statusPublished - 2 Jul 2021


  • Skin tribology
  • Surface texture
  • Friction
  • Contact model


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