3D-printed biomimetic surface structures with abnormal friction properties

Weifeng Yuan*, Yao Yao, Leon Keer, Youwei Jiao, Jiaxin Yu, Qunyang Li, Xi Qiao Feng

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


Our daily experiences suggest that friction would increase when a sliding interface is pressed harder. At the nanoscale, however, recent experiments showed that friction on chemically modified graphite can decrease with increasing normal load due to atomic interlayer delamination. In this paper, we report that, through rational design of surface components, the friction of a macroscopic surface can also counterintuitively decrease with increasing normal load, resulting in a so-called macroscopic negative friction coefficient. This unusual feature is enabled by the coupling of contact pressure and deformation of the microstructured surface, which is achieved via two distinct microscale architectures, referred to as ‘lollipop’ and inverted ‘Y’ structures respectively. This work offers a novel strategy for designing meta-surfaces that possess unusual tribological properties, which may eventually lead to revolutionary engineering applications.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)46-52
Number of pages7
JournalExtreme Mechanics Letters
StatePublished - Jan 2019


  • 3D printing
  • Metamaterials
  • Negative friction coefficient
  • Surface roughness

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Bioengineering
  • Chemical Engineering (miscellaneous)
  • Engineering (miscellaneous)
  • Mechanics of Materials
  • Mechanical Engineering


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