Title: Friction in nature

Authors: T. Liskiewicz, A. Morina, A. Neville

Addresses: Institute of Engineering Thermofluids Surfaces and Interfaces, School of Mechanical Engineering, University of Leeds, Woodhouse Lane, Leeds, LS2 9JT, UK. ' Institute of Engineering Thermofluids Surfaces and Interfaces, School of Mechanical Engineering, University of Leeds, Woodhouse Lane, Leeds, LS2 9JT, UK. ' Institute of Engineering Thermofluids Surfaces and Interfaces, School of Mechanical Engineering, University of Leeds, Woodhouse Lane, Leeds, LS2 9JT, UK

Abstract: Natural systems show efficient ways to minimise or maximise friction depending on the required function. Such a function is always achieved by a number of properties and mechanisms as no single solution exists in nature to tackle one problem. Nature shows solutions to provide ultra low friction in the case of lubricated systems, ultra high friction in the case of adhesives or in some cases even controlled adaptable friction performance. Frictional surfaces can be found on different scales in nature from a nanometre scale to a macro scale. From a wide variety of natural systems, synovial joints have probably attracted more research attention than other systems and this is fully justified as they are examples where an ideal synergy between the lubrication process and materials technology exists. Other examples include shark skin riblets providing drag reduction, hierarchical structures providing maximum adhesion or mucus and slime for an improved slip. In this contribution, a summary of natural frictional systems is presented. Several examples of the successful use of biomimicry for the manipulation of the interface to provide the desired functions are presented. Finally, directions of further exploitation of a biomimetic approach in tribology are discussed.

Keywords: friction; biomimetics; surface engineering; hierarchical structures; drag reduction; adhesion; nanotechnology; lubrication; nature-inspired design; biomimicry; natural frictional systems; tribology; bio-inspired design.

DOI: 10.1504/IJDE.2011.041410

International Journal of Design Engineering, 2011 Vol.4 No.1, pp.71 - 85

Available online: 21 Jul 2011 *

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