Cluster of the Kendall-type adhesive microcontacts as a simple model for load sharing in bioinspired fibrillar adhesives

Research paper by Ivan Argatov, Qiang Li, Valentin L. Popov

Indexed on: 18 May '19Published on: 27 Mar '19Published in: Archive of Applied Mechanics


The problem of multiple adhesive contact is considered for an elastic substrate modeled as a transversely isotropic elastic half-space. It is assumed that a large number of the Kendall-type microcontacts are formed between the substrate and circular rigid (i.e., nondeformable) and frictionless micropads, which are interconnected between themselves, thereby establishing a load sharing. The effect of microcontacts interaction is accounted for in the formulation of the detachment criterion for each individual microcontact. A number of different asymptotic models are presented for the case of dilute clusters of microcontacts with their accuracy tested against a special case of two-spot contact, for which an analytical solution is available. The pull-off force has been estimated and the effects of the array size and the microcontact spacing are studied. It is shown that the flexibility of the micropads fixation, which is similar to that observed in mushroom-shaped fibrils, significantly increases the pull-off force. The novelty of the presented approach is its ability to separate different effects in the multi-scale contact problem, which allows one to distinguish between different mathematical models developed for bioinspired fibrillar adhesives.