An improved DMT adhesion model is used in conjunction with an elastoplastic contact model to analyze the adhesion of contacting rough solid surfaces covered with extremely thin layers of a lubricant having a very high affinity for the surfaces. This we call sub-boundary lubrication. The paper investigates the effects of the solid surface topography and the film thickness of the lubricant on the adhesion and pull-off forces. A roughness-dependent critical thickness phenomenon is predicted: very rough surfaces may exhibit low adhesion for a wide range of lubricant thicknesses, while for smooth surfaces adhesion may increase dramatically even for a film thickness t below the standard deviation of surface heights σ. The increased adhesion could cause the surfaces to stick together to the extent that sensitive tribological systems may be damaged.

This content is only available via PDF.
You do not currently have access to this content.