Nanotexture Shape and Surface Energy Impact on Electroadhesive Human–Machine Interface Performance

Xinyi Li, Yuan Ma (Corresponding Author), Changhyun Choi, Xuezhi Ma, Sitangshu Chatterjee, Shoufeng Lan, Cynthia Hipwell (Corresponding Author)

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

12 Citations (Scopus)


With the ubiquity of touch screens and the commercialization of electroadhesion-based surface haptic devices, modeling tools that capture the multiphysical phenomena within the finger–device interface and their interaction are critical to design devices that achieve higher performance and reliability at lower cost. While electroadhesion has successfully demonstrated the capability to change tactile perception through friction modulation, the mechanism of electroadhesion in the finger–device interface is still unclear, partly due to the complex interfacial physics including contact deformation, capillary formation, electric field, and their complicated coupling effects that have not been addressed comprehensively. A multiphysics model is presented here to predict the friction force for finger–surface tactile interactions at the nanoscale. The nanoscopic multiphysical phenomena are coupled to study the impacts of nanotexture and surface energy in the touch interface. With macroscopic friction force measurements as verification, the model is further used to propose textures that have maximum electroadhesion effect and minimum sensitivity to relative humidity and user perspiration rate. This model can guide the performance improvement of future electroadhesion-based surface haptic devices and other touch-based human–machine interfaces.
Original languageEnglish
Article number2008337
JournalAdvanced Materials
Issue number31
Publication statusPublished - 5 Aug 2021
Externally publishedYes


  • electroadhesion
  • human–machine interfaces
  • multiphysics modeling
  • nanoasperities

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Materials Science(all)
  • Mechanics of Materials
  • Mechanical Engineering


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