The existence of a critical length scale in regularised friction
We study a regularisation of Coulomb's friction law on the propagation of local slip at an interface between a deformable and a rigid solid. This regularisation, which was proposed based on experimental observations, smooths the effect of a sudden jump in the contact pressure over a characteristic length scale. We apply it in numerical simulations in order to analyse its influence on the behaviour of local slip. We first show that mesh convergence in dynamic simulations is achieved without any numerical damping in the bulk and draw a convergence map with respect to the characteristic length of the friction regularisation. By varying this length scale on the example of a given slip event, we observe that there is a critical length below which the friction regularisation does not affect anymore the propagation of the interface rupture. A spectral analysis of the regularisation on a periodic variation of Coulomb's friction is conducted to confirm the existence of this critical length. The results indicate that if the characteristic length of the friction regularisation is smaller than the critical length, a slip event behaves as if it was governed by Coulomb's law. We therefore propose that there is a domain of influence of the friction regularisation depending on its characteristic length and on the frequency content of the local slip event. A byproduct of the analysis is related to the existence of a physical length scale characterising a given frictional interface. We establish that the experimental determination of this interface property may be achieved by experimentally monitoring slip pulses whose frequency content is rich enough. (C) 2013 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.