Evaluation of the Electrowetting Effect on the Interfacial Mechanics between Human Corneocytes and Nanoasperities

Perawat Boonpuek, Yuan Ma, Xinyi Li, Changhyun Choi, M. Cynthia Hipwell, Jonathan R. Felts (Corresponding Author)

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)


A large subset of haptic surfaces employs electroadhesion to modulate both adhesion and friction at a sliding finger interface. The current theory of electroadhesion assumes that the applied electric field pulls the skin into stronger contact, increasing friction by increasing the real contact area, yet it is unknown what role environmental moisture plays in the effect. This paper uses atomic force microscopy (AFM)to determine the effect of humidity on the adhesion and friction between the single nanoscale asperity and individual human finger corneocytes. An analytical model of the total effective load of the AFM tip is developed to explain the humidity-voltage dependence of nanoscale adhesion and friction at contacting asperities. The results show that the electrowetting effect at the interface at high humidity accounts for 35% of the adhesive force but less than 8% of the total friction, implying that the electrowetting effect can be enhanced by optimizing surface topography to promote the formation and rupture of liquid menisci.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)4056-4063
Number of pages8
Issue number14
Publication statusPublished - 13 Apr 2021
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

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


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