The origin of the large relative-humidity (RH) dependence of the adhesion force in the single-asperity contact between silicon oxide surfaces is elucidated. As RH increases, the adhesion force measured with an atomic force microscopy (AFM) initially increases, reaches a maximum, and then decreases at high RH. The capillary force alone cannot explain the observed magnitude of the RH dependence. The origin of the large RH dependence is due to the presence of an icelike structured water adsorbed at the silicon oxide surface at room temperature. A solid-adsorbate-solid model is developed calculating the contributions from capillary forces, van der Waals interactions, and the rupture of an ice-ice bridge at the center of the contact region. This model illustrates how the structure, thickness, and viscoelastic behavior of the adsorbed water layer influence the adhesion force of the silicon oxide nanoasperity contact.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Physics and Astronomy(all)
- Physical and Theoretical Chemistry