Stress field at a sliding frictional contact: Experiments and calculations

J. Scheibert*, A. Prevost, G. Debrégeas, E. Katzav, M. Adda-Bedia

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

40 Scopus citations


A MEMS-based sensing device is used to measure the normal and tangential stress fields at the base of a rough elastomer film in contact with a smooth glass cylinder in steady sliding. This geometry allows for a direct comparison between the stress profiles measured along the sliding direction and the predictions of an original exact bidimensional model of friction. The latter assumes Amontons' friction law, which implies that in steady sliding the interfacial tangential stress is equal to the normal stress times a pressure-independent dynamic friction coefficient μd, but makes no further assumption on the normal stress field. Discrepancy between the measured and calculated profiles is less than 14% over the range of loads explored. Comparison with a test model, based on the classical assumption that the normal stress field is unchanged upon tangential loading, shows that the exact model better reproduces the experimental profiles at high loads. However, significant deviations remain that are not accounted for by either calculations. In that regard, the relevance of two other assumptions made in the calculations, namely (i) the smoothness of the interface and (ii) the pressure-independence of μd is briefly discussed.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)1921-1933
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of the Mechanics and Physics of Solids
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 2009
Externally publishedYes


  • Contact mechanics
  • Friction
  • Integral transforms
  • Layered rubber material
  • MEMS


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