The effect of surface roughness and viscoelasticity on rubber adhesion

A. Tiwari, L. Dorogin, A. I. Bennett, K. D. Schulze, W. G. Sawyer, M. Tahir, G. Heinrich, B. N. J. Persson*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

72 Citations (Scopus)


Adhesion between silica glass or acrylic balls and silicone elastomers and various industrial rubbers is investigated. The work of adhesion during pull-off is found to strongly vary depending on the system, which we attribute to the two opposite effects: (1) viscoelastic energy dissipation close to an opening crack tip and (2) surface roughness. Introducing surface roughness on the glass ball is found to increase the work of adhesion for soft elastomers, while for the stiffer elastomers it results in a strong reduction in the work of adhesion. For the soft silicone elastomers a strong increase in the work of adhesion with increasing pull-off velocity is observed, which may result from the non-adiabatic processes associated with molecular chain pull-out. In general, the work of adhesion is decreased after repeated contacts due to the transfer of molecules from the elastomers to the glass ball. Thus, extracting the free chains (oligomers) from the silicone elastomers is shown to make the work of adhesion independent of the number of contacts. The viscoelastic properties (linear and nonlinear) of all of the rubber compounds are measured, and the velocity dependent crack opening propagation energy at the interface is calculated. Silicone elastomers show a good agreement between the measured work of adhesion and the predicted results, but carbon black filled hydrogenated nitrile butadiene rubber compounds reveal that strain softening at the crack tip may play an important role in determining the work of adhesion. Additionally, adhesion measurement under submerged conditions in distilled water and water + soap solutions are also performed: a strong reduction in the work of adhesion is measured for the silicone elastomers submerged in water, and a complete elimination of adhesion is found for the water + soap solution attributed to an osmotic repulsion between the negatively charged surface of the glass and the elastomer.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3602-3621
JournalSoft matter
Issue number19
Publication statusPublished - 2017
Externally publishedYes


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