Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Boxes, Books And Earthquakes Share Common Friction Characteristics, Researchers At The University Of Texas At Austin Find

Date:
September 26, 2001
Source:
University Of Texas At Austin
Summary:
Comparing bumps in a rug to boxes dragged across the floor and to earthquake fault zones, researchers at The University of Texas at Austin have developed new calculations to demonstrate that the mechanics of friction can be the same, no matter what the size of the materials involved.

AUSTIN, Texas -- Comparing bumps in a rug to boxes dragged across the floor and to earthquake fault zones, researchers at The University of Texas at Austin have developed new calculations to demonstrate that the mechanics of friction can be the same, no matter what the size of the materials involved.

Related Articles


Their work, published Sept. 20 in the journal Nature, could be used to improve understanding of the dynamics of earthquakes.

The authors are Dr. Michael Marder, of the Center for Nonlinear Dynamics, and Dr. Eric Gerde, a recent graduate who worked at the Texas Institute for Computational and Applied Mathematics. The research centers on "self-healing cracks" that have been postulated for some time, but had been plagued by mathematical paradoxes that Marder and Gerde have overcome.

"The need to understand the operation of friction in detail may be greatest in the context of geophysics, where it determines the onset of earthquakes and the heat they produce," said Marder, a professor in the Department of Physics.

By starting with a description of surfaces in contact at the atomic scale and employing multi-scale analysis, the researchers were able to provide a detailed picture of how objects can slide over one another, as when a box slides across a floor.

"We used this to demonstrate the existence of self-healing cracks that have been postulated to solve geophysical paradoxes," Marder said.

Like a bump on a rug, a self-healing crack refers to the temporary gap between a solid surface and another solid surface that allows one area to slide over the other. In sliding of rigid objects, the self-healing crack moves so rapidly it is hard to detect, and the motion and heat it produces can be interpreted as coming from ordinary friction.

"The most intriguing thing about friction is that it is proportional to the force pushing two objects together -- but it is independent of the size of the area in contact," Marder said. "The idea of the self-healing crack provides a new way to see why this should be so."

The researchers said they expect further experiments will demonstrate the same principles operate at many different scales -- ranging from books sliding across tables to massive scales such as Earth's tectonic plates.

Researchers at the Center for Nonlinear Dynamics study complex dynamics, instabilities, chaos and pattern formation in chemical, biological, solid, fluid and granular systems. Their findings underline the fact that diverse systems exhibit remarkably similar, sometimes even universal, behavior.

Marder is involved in a variety of theoretical, numerical experimental investigations. They range from studies of plasticity to experiments on sand ripples at the sea bottom. He specializes in the mechanics of solids, particularly the fracture of materials, and has developed analytical methods that explain the origin of fracture instability in crystals.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University Of Texas At Austin. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

University Of Texas At Austin. "Boxes, Books And Earthquakes Share Common Friction Characteristics, Researchers At The University Of Texas At Austin Find." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 26 September 2001. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2001/09/010926071545.htm>.
University Of Texas At Austin. (2001, September 26). Boxes, Books And Earthquakes Share Common Friction Characteristics, Researchers At The University Of Texas At Austin Find. ScienceDaily. Retrieved March 1, 2015 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2001/09/010926071545.htm
University Of Texas At Austin. "Boxes, Books And Earthquakes Share Common Friction Characteristics, Researchers At The University Of Texas At Austin Find." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2001/09/010926071545.htm (accessed March 1, 2015).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Matter & Energy News

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Elon Musk's Hyperloop Moves Forward

Elon Musk's Hyperloop Moves Forward

Buzz60 (Feb. 27, 2015) Zipping around at 800-miles an hour is coming closer to reality in California. An entire town is being built around Elon Musk&apos;s Hyperloop concept and it wants you to stop in for a ride when it&apos;s ready. Brett Larson is on board. Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com
Vibrating Bicycle Senses Traffic

Vibrating Bicycle Senses Traffic

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Feb. 26, 2015) Dutch scientists have developed a smart bicycle that uses sensors, wireless technology and video to warn riders of traffic dangers. Ben Gruber reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
In Japan, Robot Dogs Are for Life -- And Death

In Japan, Robot Dogs Are for Life -- And Death

AFP (Feb. 25, 2015) Robot dogs are the perfect pet for some in Japan who go to repairmen-turned-vets when their pooch breaks down - while a full Buddhist funeral ceremony awaits those who don&apos;t make it. Duration: 02:40 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
London Show Dissects History of Forensic Science

London Show Dissects History of Forensic Science

AFP (Feb. 25, 2015) Forensic science, which has fascinated generations with its unravelling of gruesome crime mysteries, is being put under the microscope in an exhibition of real criminal investigations in London. Duration: 00:53 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Space & Time

Matter & Energy

Computers & Math

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins