Shear-induced adhesive failure of a rigid slab in contact with a thin confined film

Eur Phys J E Soft Matter. 2007 Jun;23(2):175-83. doi: 10.1140/epje/i2007-10171-x.


A rigid-glass prism (square or rectangular base, rectangular cross-section) is sheared off a thin film of silicone elastomer bonded to a glass plate by applying a tangential force at various distances above the prism/elastomer interface. At a given tangential force, the prism starts to slide on the elastomeric film. As the sliding velocity, thus the frictional force, is progressively increased, an elastic instability develops at the interface that results in the formation of numerous bubbles. These bubbles, the lateral dimension of which is comparable to the thickness of the film, move across the interface with speeds 1000 times faster than the overall sliding speed of the glass prism against the PDMS film. It is found that the glass prism continues to slide on the elastomeric film as long as the applied shear stress is less than a critical value. During sliding, however, a normal stress is developed at the interface that decays from the front (i.e. where the force is applied) to the rear end of the prism. When the normal stress reaches a critical value, the prism comes off the film. The critical shear stress of fracture increases with the modulus of the film, but decreases with the thickness following a square root relationship, as is the case with the removal of rigid punches from thin elastomeric films by normal pull-off forces.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adhesiveness
  • Computer Simulation
  • Glass / chemistry*
  • Membranes, Artificial*
  • Models, Chemical*
  • Shear Strength
  • Silicone Elastomers / chemistry*
  • Stress, Mechanical
  • Surface Properties


  • Membranes, Artificial
  • Silicone Elastomers