This title appears in the Scientific Report : 2008 

Capillary adhesion between elastic solids with randomly rough surfaces
Persson, B. N. J.
Quanten-Theorie der Materialien; IFF-1
Journal of physics / Condensed matter, 20 (2008) S. 315007
Bristol IOP Publ. 2008
Journal Article
Kondensierte Materie
Journal of Physics: Condensed Matter 20
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I study how the contact area and the work of adhesion between two elastic solids with randomly rough surfaces depend on the relative humidity. The surfaces are assumed to be hydrophilic, and capillary bridges form at the interface between the solids. For elastically hard solids with relatively smooth surfaces, the area of real contact and therefore also the sliding friction are maximal when there is just enough liquid to fill out the interfacial space between the solids, which typically occurs for d(K) approximate to 3h(rms), where d(K) is the height of the capillary bridge and h(rms) the root-mean-square roughness of the (combined) surface roughness profile. For elastically soft solids, the area of real contact is maximal for very low humidity (i.e. small d(K)), where the capillary bridges are able to pull the solids into nearly complete contact. In both cases, the work of adhesion is maximal (and equal to 2 gamma cos theta, where gamma is the liquid surface tension and theta the liquid-solid contact angle) when d(K) >> h(rms), corresponding to high relative humidity.