Frictional weakening of slip interfaces

See allHide authors and affiliations

Science Advances  05 Apr 2019:
Vol. 5, no. 4, eaav7603
DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.aav7603


When two objects are in contact, the force necessary to overcome friction is larger than the force necessary to keep sliding motion going. This difference between static and dynamic friction is usually attributed to the growth of the area of real contact between rough surfaces in time when the system is at rest. We directly measure the area of real contact and show that it actually increases during macroscopic slip, despite the fact that dynamic friction is smaller than static friction. This signals a decrease in the interfacial shear strength, the friction per unit contact area, which is due to a mechanical weakening of the asperities. This provides a novel explanation for stick-slip phenomena in, e.g., earthquakes.

This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial license, which permits use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, so long as the resultant use is not for commercial advantage and provided the original work is properly cited.

View Full Text

Stay Connected to Science Advances