Abstract: This paper presents a computational study on the role of poroelasticity in gel friction. Motivated by recent experimental studies in the literature, we develop a plane strain finite element model to elucidate the contact mechanics between a circular indenter and a thick poroelastic substrate under both normal and shear loadings. Two cases are considered: i) steady state sliding under fixed normal displacements, and ii) relaxation under fixed normal and shear displacements. In steady state sliding, we find that a net friction force can arise even if no intrinsic adhesive or frictional interaction is implemented at the indenter/substrate interface. Such friction force exhibits a non-monotonic dependence on the sliding velocity and peaks at an intermediate velocity. Our model reveals that this friction force is induced by poroelastic diffusion in the gel substrate which can lead to considerable asymmetry in both the contact profile and contact pressure. In terms of relaxation, if the indenter/substrate interface is set to be frictionless, we find that the friction force induced by poroelasticity relaxes to zero with a characteristic time much faster than that of the normal force. When a finite friction coefficient is introduced at the interface, the normalized relaxation curve for the friction force approaches that for the normal force as the friction coefficient increases. These modeling results suggest that poroelasticity can be an important contributing mechanism for gel friction.

Qi, Y., Calahan, K.N., Rentschler, M.E., Long, R., “Friction Between a Plane Strain Circular Indenter and a Thick Poroelastic Substrate,” Mechanics of Materials. 142: 103303, 2020.

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