The so-called JKR theory of adhesion between elastic spheres in contact (Johnson, Kendall & Roberts 1971, Sperling 1964) has been widely used in micro-tribology. In this paper the theory is extended to solids of general shape and curvature. It is assumed that the area of contact is elliptical which turns out to be approximately true, though the eccentricity is different from that for non-adhesive contact. Closed form expressions are found for the variation with load of contact radius and displacement, as a function of the ratio of principal relative curvatures of the two bodies in contact. The pull-off force is found to decrease with increasing eccentricity from its value of 3πΔγR/2 in the case of contact of spheres of radius R.

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