Impact of humidity on adhesion between rough surfaces

R. A. Quon, A. Ulman, T. K. Vanderlick

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The surface forces apparatus was used to study the variation with relative humidity of adhesion between mica and rough gold films coated with either a hydrophobic or hydrophilic self-assembled monolayer (SAM). Pull-off forces, as a function of relative humidity, were measured between mica and gold coated with either n-octadecanethiol or 1-hydroxylunicosanethiol. For the alcohol-terminated SAM, pull-off forces increase from 370 mN/m (dry conditions) to 845 mN/m (saturated conditions). For the methyl-terminated SAM, pull-off forces increase from 160 mN/m (dry conditions) to 643 mN/m (saturated conditions). A quartz crystal microbalance was used to obtain adsorption isotherms on the two different SAMs. Angstrom-level changes in adsorbed layer thickness are associated with marked changes in measured adhesion forces.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)8912-8916
Number of pages5
Issue number23
StatePublished - Nov 2000

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Materials Science
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Surfaces and Interfaces
  • Spectroscopy
  • Electrochemistry


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