Experiments show that when an adhesive contact is subjected to a tangential load the contact area reduces, symmetrically or asymmetrically, depending on whether the contact is under tension or compression. What happens after the onset of sliding is more difficult to be assessed because conducting experiments is rather complicated, especially under tensile loading. Here, we provide through numerical simulations, a complete picture of how the contact area and tractions of an adhesive circular smooth punch evolve under mixed-mode loading, before and after sliding. First, the Green's function molecular dynamics method is extended to include the description of the interfacial interactions between contacting bodies by means of traction–separation constitutive laws that enforce coupling between tension (or compression) and shear. Next, simulations are performed to model sliding of a circular smooth punch against a flat rigid substrate, under tension and compression. In line with the experimental observations, the reduction in the contact area during shear loading is found to be symmetric under tension and asymmetric under compression. In addition, under tensile loading, full detachment is observed at the onset of sliding with a non-zero value of the tangential force. After the onset of sliding and the occurrence of slip instability, the contact area abruptly increases (reattachment), under both tension and compression. For interfaces with high friction, the reattachment occurs only partially. However, a full reattachment is attainable when friction is low.
- Adhesive contacts
- Contact area
- Green's function molecular dynamics
- Onset of sliding