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Computational Adhesion - Numerical Methods for Adhesive Contact Problems at Multiple Length Scales

Funding: Emmy Noether Group

The proposed research focuses on the development of 3D computational methods for adhesive contact on different length scales. To provide a general description and to capture large deformations due to strong adhesion, the contact modelling will be formulated in the framework of nonlinear continuum mechanics. The goal is to develop accurate, efficient and robust contact algorithms to address various aspects of adhesion such as adhesion dynamics, coupled adhesion, frictional adhesion and multiscale modelling of adhesion. The developed adhesion models will be implemented within a nonlinear finite element approach and their behaviour will be analysed in detail. The complex adhesion mechanism of the gecko motivates this research and provides several open problems that will be studied here. In particular, a five-level multiscale model for gecko adhesion will be developed to investigate how adhesion can carry over from the molecular scale to the macroscopic scale. This research has many further applications and is expected to significantly advance the science and technology of adhesion.