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Adhesion Mechanisms At Soft Polymer Interfaces

Liliane Léger, Costantino Creton

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Based on several significant examples, we analyse the adhesion mechanisms at soft polymer interfaces with a special emphasis first on the role of connector molecules, that is, polymer chains bound to the interface and which transmit stress through a stretching and extraction mechanism, and second on the necessary relay that must be taken by additional dissipation mechanisms acting at larger scales if one wants to reach typical fracture toughnesses in the range of a few 10 J m −2 . Examples of such bulk dissipation mechanisms will be discussed for interfaces between polymer melts and for pressure-sensitive adhesives in contact with a solid surface. We shall particularly point out the fact that the level of adhesion results from a competition between adhesive failure usually driven by both the interactions and the friction properties of the interface and bulk strong deformations which take place in the bulk of the adhesive layer. Controlling the friction properties of the interface then becomes a tool to finely tune adhesive properties.