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Cusp-Catastrophe Interpretation of the Stick-Slip Behaviour of Rough Surfaces

A. Carpinteri1, M. Paggi1,2, G. Zavarise3

Politecnico di Torino, Department of Structural and Geotechnical Engineering, Torino, Italy
Corresponding author, email:
University of Salento, Department of Innovation Engineering, Lecce, Italy

Computer Modeling in Engineering & Sciences 2009, 53(3), 303-326.


The stick-slip instability is a typical manifestation of the nonlinearity of the frictional response of rough surfaces. As recently demonstrated by several researchers, the problem of contact loss is also inherently connected to the stick-slip instability and it has been detected both in elastically soft materials, such as rubber or gelatine, and in elastic stiff materials, such as for earthquake faults. Treating the problem of tangential contact in the framework of micromechanical contact models, the effect of the phenomenon of contact loss on the micro-slip behavior of rough surfaces is herein investigated. To this aim, the stick and slip components of the total applied tangential force and of the total real contact area are properly determined as functions of the total applied tangential force. A comparison with the behavior of smooth surfaces, such as spheres, cylinders and flat surfaces, is presented. Then, simulating the problem of tangential loading followed by a reduction of the applied normal force, it will be shown that the phenomenon of contact loss gives rise to energy release due to snap-back instability in the diagram relating the tangential force to the sliding displacement. This result provides for the very first time an explanation to the phenomenon of stick-slip according to the Catastrophe Theory, in close analogy with the cusp-catastrophe instability of Mode I crack propagation in cohesive solids.


Cite This Article

APA Style
Carpinteri, A., Paggi, M., Zavarise, G. (2009). Cusp-catastrophe interpretation of the stick-slip behaviour of rough surfaces. Computer Modeling in Engineering & Sciences, 53(3), 303-326.
Vancouver Style
Carpinteri A, Paggi M, Zavarise G. Cusp-catastrophe interpretation of the stick-slip behaviour of rough surfaces. Comput Model Eng Sci. 2009;53(3):303-326
IEEE Style
A. Carpinteri, M. Paggi, and G. Zavarise "Cusp-Catastrophe Interpretation of the Stick-Slip Behaviour of Rough Surfaces," Comput. Model. Eng. Sci., vol. 53, no. 3, pp. 303-326. 2009.

cc This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License , which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
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