Langmuir, Vol.34, No.43, 12723-12729, 2018
Anomalous Friction between Agar Gels under Accelerated Motion
Understanding the friction phenomena on a gel surface under accelerated conditions is important for the designing of functional materials. However, there are few reports on friction under such conditions. In the present study, the effects of velocity, normal force, and gel hardness on the friction force were evaluated between two agar gels under sinusoidal motion. We found a friction phenomenon with an extremely low friction coefficient on the gel surfaces: the friction coefficient became less than 0.02 when sliding velocity increased. In addition, the profile of the friction coefficient was different between outward and homeward processes in the reciprocating sliding motion. In the outward direction, the low friction coefficient was maintained even if the sliding velocity decreased. On the other hand, the friction coefficient increased with sliding velocity in the homeward direction. This characteristic friction profile is caused by a long relaxation time on the gel surfaces. When the gel substrate is rubbed for a shorter time than the relaxation time, the morphology of the gel surface becomes unstable. Under such conditions, the formation and extinction of a thick liquid film can induce a super lubrication state and the asymmetric friction phenomena. These findings are useful not only for developing functional materials but also for understanding nonequilibrium phenomena in soft biological systems.