Peeling of thin films is a problem of great interest to scientists and engineers. Here, we study the peeling response of thin films with nonuniform thickness profile attached to a rigid substrate through a planar homogeneous interface. We show both analytically and using finite element analysis that patterning the film thickness may lead to direction-dependent adhesion such that the force required to peel the film in one direction is different from the force required in the other direction, without any change to the film material, the substrate interfacial geometry, or the adhesive material properties. Furthermore, we show that this asymmetry is tunable through modifying the geometric characteristics of the thin film to obtain higher asymmetry ratios than reported previously in the literature. We discuss our findings in the broader context of enhancing interfacial response by modulating the bulk geometric or compositional properties.

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