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Origin of Adhesion in Humid Air



Doo-In Kim, Jaroslaw Grobelny, Pradeep N. Namboodiri, Robert F. Cook


The origin of adhesion at nanoscale contacts in humid air is investigated by pull-off force measurements using atomic force microscopes in controlled environments from ultra-high vacuum through various humidity conditions to water. An equivalent work of adhesion (WOA) model with a simplified interface stress distribution is developed, combining the effects of screened van der Waals and meniscus forces, that describes adhesion in humid air and which self-consistently treats the contact stress and deformation. Although the pull-off force is found to vary significantly with humidity, the equivalent WOA is found to be invariant. Increasing humidity alters the nature of the surface adhesion from a compliant contact with a localized, intense meniscus force to a stiff contact with an extended, weak meniscus force.


Kim, D. , Grobelny, J. , Namboodiri, P. and Cook, R. (2008), Origin of Adhesion in Humid Air, Langmuir, [online], (Accessed July 19, 2024)


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Created April 18, 2008, Updated February 19, 2017