Adhesion between nanoscale rough surfaces: II. Measurement and comparison with theory

Yakov I. Rabinovich, Joshua J. Adler, Ali Ata, Rajiv K. Singh, Brij M. Moudgil

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

369 Scopus citations


In this investigation, the adhesion between particles and plates with root-mean-square, rms, surface roughness of 0.17-10.5 nm was measured by atomic force microscopy. Measurements obtained with particles both larger and smaller than the surface asperities are presented. Results indicate adhesion force decreases sharply with increasing surface roughness in the nanometer scale (<2 nm), followed by a gradual and slow decrease with further increase in roughness. Existing models were found to significantly underestimate adhesion force. Hence, a new model based on a geometry that considers both the height and breadth of asperities yielding an increased asperity radius compared to previous approaches, as detailed in Part I of this series, is applied using both van der Waals and elastic deformation/work of adhesion based approaches. For the system studied in this investigation, the adhesion forces predicted by the proposed model are considerably more accurate than those predicted by past models. (C) 2000 Academic Press.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)17-24
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Colloid and Interface Science
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1 Dec 2000
Externally publishedYes


The authors acknowledge the financial support of the Engineering Research Center (ERC) for Particle Science and Technology at the University of Florida, the National Science Foundation (NSF) (Grant EEC-94-02989), and the Industrial Partners of the ERC.

FundersFunder number
Engineering Research Center
National Science FoundationEEC-94-02989
University of Florida


    • Adhesion
    • Atomic force microscopy
    • Nanoscale
    • Roughness
    • Surface force


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