Measuring the work of adhesion between a soft confined film and a flexible plate

Langmuir. 2005 Feb 15;21(4):1277-81. doi: 10.1021/la0484826.


We present a theoretical and experimental study of a method for the determination of the adhesion strength between a thin elastomeric film bonded to a rigid substrate and a flexible plate in a geometry common in the peel test. In particular, we characterize the work of adhesion in terms of the length of an equilibrium crack, generated by a spacer of known thickness wedged between the flexible plate and adhesive film, and the elastic and geometric properties of the film and the plate. We treat both the limit of perfect bonding and that of perfect slippage at the interface of the adhesive film and the flexible plate. A series of experiments allow us to verify the theory quantitatively and thus validate our method, which ought to be of value in many technological situations.