Document Type



Doctor of Philosophy


Chemical Engineering

First Adviser

Jagota, Anand

Other advisers/committee members

Hui, Chung-Yuen; Chaudhury, Manoj K.; Gilchrist, James F.; Vinci, Richard P.


Enhanced and selective adhesion, and controlled friction between contact surfaces are highly desirable mechanical properties for high-level functional materials. There are many instances in nature where such properties have been obtained by design of near-surface architecture. Inspired by many highly functional biological systems, we have explored bio-mimetic materials with different surface patterning, with the goal of designing surfaces that have unique combinations of contact mechanical properties. In the studies presented here, we show how: (a) highly selective adhesion can be achieved by complementarity of patterned charge and shape, and (b) how friction can be modulated by spatial variation in stiffness, and how structured surfaces interact with surface roughness.We consider how adhesion selectivity can be accomplished by complementarity of shape and inter-surface forces. We have studied an example each of charge and shape complementarity for selective adhesion between extended surfaces. First, we studied theoretically how surfaces patterned with stripes of charge interact with each other, and exhibit strong selectivity on rigid surfaces. However, deformability of the surfaces plays a crucial role in modulating adhesion by accommodating mismatches. To achieve shape complementarity, we designed and fabricated patterned elastomeric surfaces with lines of channels and complementary ridges with dimensions at the micrometer scale. We show that such surfaces have highly enhanced effective adhesion for shape complementary pairs and low adhesion between surfaces with a shape mismatch. We find that the pillar/channel combinations form defects to accommodate interfacial misalignment. These defects are interfacial dislocations. Adhesion between complementary surfaces is enhanced by crack trapping and friction, and attenuated due to the energy released by dislocation structures. In addition to enhanced adhesion, we studied the deliberate control of friction through near-surface micro-structures. Friction measurements on elastomeric surfaces patterned with periodic variation in stiffness show that it undergoes an "auto-roughening" transition under shear and this process can strongly attenuate overall sliding friction. Friction reduction is due to reduction of real contact area, as the initially full contact breaks up into partial contact at the interface. Finite element analysis demonstrates how auto-roughening depends on the modulus mismatch, frictional stress and normal displacement.A surface with random roughness is used to study sliding friction against micro-channel structures under fixed normal force. In contrast to a smooth surface, against which structured surfaces all have highly reduced sliding friction, the roughened surface can exhibit significantly larger frictional force on a structured surface. The enhancement of sliding friction is governed by channel depth, spacing and applied normal force.