Investigation into cylinder-on-flat adhesion elastic–plastic micro-contact under repeated loading and unloading condition

Research paper by V. Sabelkin, S. Mall

Indexed on: 18 Oct '07Published on: 18 Oct '07Published in: International Journal of Mechanics and Materials in Design


The evolution of microcontact induced deformation and stress states under repeated loading and unloading condition is of great interest for the scientific understanding as well as from the engineering design considerations of microelectromechanical systems (MEMS) based switches and similar other devices since they operate under cyclic condition. This study, therefore, investigated the microcontact interaction between deformable smooth cylindrical segment and deformable smooth flat using the finite element analysis. Elastic and elastic–plastic material behaviors and adhesion interaction are considered. The detailed information about contact area, displacement and stress state in the contact region under cycling condition are presented. Contact area varies nonlinearly even when the applied load is varying linearly in a cycle. Additionally, contact areas during loading and unloading portions of a cycle are not equal at the same load level. The deformation and contact area increases in the presence of adhesion force and also with elastic–plastic material behavior. However, the adhesion force is reduced while the contact area is increased during the microcontact between elastic–plastic bodies in comparison to those between elastic bodies. The maximum increase in stress and deformation states occurs during the first cycle, and then slowly with increasing number of cycles. Further, the maximum stress state is not at the contact surface and also not at instant of the maximum applied external force. Finally, adhesion force during microcontact interaction can be of the same order as the applied external force. Therefore, design and analysis of microcontacts in micromechanical switches and similar other devices should include the effects of adhesion force and cyclic effects.