Research Topic

Fracture and Adhesion of Soft and Hard Materials

About this Research Topic

It is well-known that bringing solid interfaces into sufficiently intimate contact gives rise to adhesive interactions. Depending on the specific conditions, these can be ascribed to short-range inter-atomic/intermolecular interactions (i.e. van der Waals forces), or to other specific interactions (i.e. chemical, biological, etc). Classical contact mechanics focused mainly on purely repulsive interactions; however, since the 70’s a fast-growing effort has been devoted to deepen the understanding of adhesive interfaces. For example, links between fracture mechanics and adhesion have also been proposed, leading to the development of cross-disciplinary theories, which have shown a varying degree of success. Both theoretical and experimental investigations have shown that adhesion may significantly affect the overall response of both soft and hard interface, depending on the strength of adhesion. Therefore, new research paths have been recently opened aiming at carefully describing specific bonding and rupture process of adhesive interfaces.

The study of adhesive interfaces is a major topic due to its implications in several engineering applications. This is because most of the solid interface present adhesive properties at some degrees, whose source can be chemical, molecular or electro-static. Referring, for instance, to the peeling of thin membranes involved in common packaging of both soft and hard objects, or to the sliding contact of the fingertips on the touch screen, one can easily realize how deeply the interplay between the deformation of the solids and the adhesive properties of the interface may affect the overall functionality of everyday life devices. Similarly, applications in the field of biomaterials and biomedical engineering also rely on specific interfacial adhesion and rupture mechanisms. It is the case, for instance, of contact lens or wound dressing and skin mimics, both requiring high adhesion strength to hold in place and specific detachment process for easy removal. For these reasons, deepening the understanding of the binding and rupture mechanism of adhesive interfacial bonds in the presence of deformable interfaces is a key goal in the process of developing and enhancing the functionality of several real-life engineering applications.

The aim of this Research Topic is to promote a forum where authors can share their recent advances in the field of adhesion of both soft and hard materials. Both fundamental, experimental, and applied works are welcome. Review papers will also be considered for publication.

Fracture and adhesion will be the main topic, with specific (but not exclusive) reference to:

• Adhesive contact mechanics
• Successive bonds rupture and rebinding
• Adhesion during sliding
• Technological application of adhesion
• Fracture mechanics in soft and hard solids
• Peeling and failure of composite materials
• New materials to optimize toughness and adhesion
• Bio-adhesion and biomedical applications
• Chemical bonding and applications to adhesive interfaces
• Molecular origins of adhesion
• Micromechanical adhesive systems
• Avoidance of adhesion


Keywords: Adhesion, Rupture, Contact Mechanics, Peeling, Chemical Bonding, Molecular Adhesion


Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.

It is well-known that bringing solid interfaces into sufficiently intimate contact gives rise to adhesive interactions. Depending on the specific conditions, these can be ascribed to short-range inter-atomic/intermolecular interactions (i.e. van der Waals forces), or to other specific interactions (i.e. chemical, biological, etc). Classical contact mechanics focused mainly on purely repulsive interactions; however, since the 70’s a fast-growing effort has been devoted to deepen the understanding of adhesive interfaces. For example, links between fracture mechanics and adhesion have also been proposed, leading to the development of cross-disciplinary theories, which have shown a varying degree of success. Both theoretical and experimental investigations have shown that adhesion may significantly affect the overall response of both soft and hard interface, depending on the strength of adhesion. Therefore, new research paths have been recently opened aiming at carefully describing specific bonding and rupture process of adhesive interfaces.

The study of adhesive interfaces is a major topic due to its implications in several engineering applications. This is because most of the solid interface present adhesive properties at some degrees, whose source can be chemical, molecular or electro-static. Referring, for instance, to the peeling of thin membranes involved in common packaging of both soft and hard objects, or to the sliding contact of the fingertips on the touch screen, one can easily realize how deeply the interplay between the deformation of the solids and the adhesive properties of the interface may affect the overall functionality of everyday life devices. Similarly, applications in the field of biomaterials and biomedical engineering also rely on specific interfacial adhesion and rupture mechanisms. It is the case, for instance, of contact lens or wound dressing and skin mimics, both requiring high adhesion strength to hold in place and specific detachment process for easy removal. For these reasons, deepening the understanding of the binding and rupture mechanism of adhesive interfacial bonds in the presence of deformable interfaces is a key goal in the process of developing and enhancing the functionality of several real-life engineering applications.

The aim of this Research Topic is to promote a forum where authors can share their recent advances in the field of adhesion of both soft and hard materials. Both fundamental, experimental, and applied works are welcome. Review papers will also be considered for publication.

Fracture and adhesion will be the main topic, with specific (but not exclusive) reference to:

• Adhesive contact mechanics
• Successive bonds rupture and rebinding
• Adhesion during sliding
• Technological application of adhesion
• Fracture mechanics in soft and hard solids
• Peeling and failure of composite materials
• New materials to optimize toughness and adhesion
• Bio-adhesion and biomedical applications
• Chemical bonding and applications to adhesive interfaces
• Molecular origins of adhesion
• Micromechanical adhesive systems
• Avoidance of adhesion


Keywords: Adhesion, Rupture, Contact Mechanics, Peeling, Chemical Bonding, Molecular Adhesion


Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.

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Submission Deadlines

15 December 2020 Abstract
14 April 2021 Manuscript

Participating Journals

Manuscripts can be submitted to this Research Topic via the following journals:

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Topic Editors

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Submission Deadlines

15 December 2020 Abstract
14 April 2021 Manuscript

Participating Journals

Manuscripts can be submitted to this Research Topic via the following journals:

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