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Dynamic stiction without static friction: The role of friction vector rotation

Nakano, Ken; Popov, Valentin L.

In the textbook formulation of dry friction laws, static and dynamic friction (stick and slip) are qualitatively different and sharply separated phenomena. However, accurate measurements of stick-slip motion generally show that static friction is not truly static but characterized by a slow creep that, upon increasing tangential load, smoothly accelerates into bulk sliding. Microscopic, contact-mechanical, and phenomenological models have been previously developed to account for this behavior. In the present work, we show that it may instead be a systemic property of the measurement apparatus. Using a mechanical model that exhibits the characteristics of typical setups of measuring friction forces—which usually have very high transverse stiffness—and assuming a small but nonzero misalignment angle in the contact plane, we observe some fairly counterintuitive behavior: Under increasing longitudinal loading, the system almost immediately starts sliding perpendicularly to the pulling direction. Then the friction force vector begins to rotate in the plane, gradually approaching the pulling direction. When the angle between the two becomes small, bulk sliding sets in quickly. Although the system is sliding the entire time, macroscopic stick-slip behavior is reproduced very well, as is the accelerated creep during the “stick” phase. The misalignment angle is identified as a key parameter governing the stick-to-slip transition. Numerical results and theoretical considerations also reveal the presence of high-frequency transverse oscillations during the “static” phase, which are also transmitted into the longitudinal direction by nonlinear processes. Stability analysis is carried out and suggests dynamic probing methods for the approaching moment of bulk slip and the possibility of suppressing stick-slip instabilities by changing the misalignment angle and other system parameters.
Published in: Physical Review E, 10.1103/PhysRevE.102.063001, American Physical Society (APS)