Dynamic adhesive force measurements under vertical and horizontal motions of interacting rough surfaces

Chang Dong Yeo, Sung Chang Lee, Andreas A. Polycarpou

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


An instrument to measure dynamic adhesive forces between interacting rough surfaces has been developed. It consists of four parts, namely, main instrument body, vertical positioning system with both micrometer and nanometer positioning accuracies, horizontal positioning system with nanometer positioning accuracy, and custom-built high-resolution, and high dynamic bandwidth capacitive force transducer. The vertical piezoelectric actuator (PZT) controls the vertical (approaching and retracting) motion of the upper specimen, while the horizontal PZT controls the horizontal (reciprocal) motion of the lower specimen. The force transducer is placed in line with the upper specimen and vertical PZT, and directly measures the adhesive forces with a root-mean-square load resolution of 1.7 μN and a dynamic bandwidth of 1.7 kHz. The newly developed instrument enables reliable measurements of near-contact and contact adhesive forces for microscale devices under different dynamic conditions. Using the developed instrument, dynamic pull-in and pull-off force measurements were performed between an aluminum-titanium-carbide sphere and a 10 nm thick carbon film disk sample. Three different levels of contact force were investigated; where for each contact force level the vertical velocity of the upper sample was varied from 0.074 to 5.922 μms, while the lower sample was stationary. It was found that slower approaching and retracting velocities result in higher pull-in and pull-off forces. The noncontact attractive force was also measured during horizontal movement of the lower sample, and it was found that the periodic movements of the lower disk sample also affect the noncontact surface interactions.

Original languageEnglish
Article number015111
JournalReview of Scientific Instruments
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2008


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