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Published June 20, 2011 | Published
Journal Article Open

Nonlinear repulsive force between two solids with axial symmetry


We modify the formulation of Hertz contact theory between two elastic half-solids with axial symmetry and show that these modifications to Hertz's original framework allow the development of force laws of the form F∝z^n, 10 to describe any aspect ratio in the two bodies, all being valid near the contact surface. We let the x-y plane be the contact surface with an averaged pressure across the same as opposed to a pressure profile that depends on the contact area of a nonconformal contact as originally used by Hertz. We let the z axis connect the centers of the masses and define z_(1,2) = x^(α)/R_(1,2)^(α-1) + y^(α)/(mR_(1,2))^(α-1), where z_(1,2)≥0 refers to the compression of bodies 1, 2, α>1, m>0, x,y≥0. The full cross section can be generated by appropriate reflections using the first quadrant part of the area. We show that the nonlinear repulsive force is F=az^n, where n≡1+(1/α), and z≡z_1 + z_2 is the overlap and we present an expression for a=f(E,σ,m,α,R_(1),R_(2)) with E and σ as Young's modulus and the Poisson ratio, respectively. For α=2,∞, to similar geometry-dependent constants, we recover Hertz's law and the linear law, describing the repulsion between compressed spheres and disks, respectively. The work provides a connection between the contact geometry and the nonlinear repulsive law via α and m.

Additional Information

© 2011 American Physical Society. Received 21 November 2010; revised 13 March 2011; published 20 June 2011. S.S. thanks Prof. Robert W. Newcomb and a referee for valuable comments. D.S. and S.S. were supported by the US Army Research Office. C.D. was supported by the US Army Research Office and an NSF CAREER grant.

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