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What is the origin of friction?

  • Supervisor: prof. dr. Daniel Bonn
  • Research Team: Hans Terwisscha-Dekker, dr. Kasra Farain
  • Goal: Using molecular probes to understand friction.
  • Info: D.Bonn, H. Terwisscha-Dekker , K. Farain

When two objects touch, the force of friction resists relative motion. Friction is everywhere, yet it is poorly understood, even though it is responsible for about 30% of the world energy consumption. In our research we (literally!) shed light on friction by using a novel microscopy technique developed in our lab, which allows us to visualise the contact between two touching objects. Because all surfaces are rough down to microscopic length scales, this 'real' contact area is much smaller than the apparent surface dimensions. With our state-of-the art technique we hope to unravel how friction forces emerge from contacting surfaces.