Menisci may form between two solid surfaces with the presence of an ultra-thin liquid film. When the separation operation is needed, meniscus and viscous forces contribute to an adhesion leading stiction, high friction, possibly high wear and potential failure of the contact systems, for instance microdevices, magnetic head disks and diesel fuel injectors. The situation may become more pronounced when the contacting surfaces are ultra-smooth and the normal load is small. Various design parameters, such as contact angle, initial separation height, surface tension and liquid viscosity, have been investigated during liquid-mediated contact separation. However, how the involved forces will change roles for various liquid is of interest and is necessary to be studied.

In this study, meniscus and viscous forces due to water and liquid lubricants during separation of two flat surfaces are studied. Previously established mathematical model for meniscus and viscous forces during flat on flat contact separation is simulated. The effect of meniscus and viscous force on critical meniscus area at which those forces change role is studied with different liquid properties for flat on flat contact surfaces. The roles of the involved forces at various meniscus areas are analyzed. Experiments are done in concerns to studying the effect of surface roughness on contact angle.

The impact of liquid properties, initial separation heights and contact angle on critical meniscus area for different liquid properties are analyzed. The study provides a fundamental understanding of the forces of the separation process and its value for the design of interfaces. The effect of surface roughness and liquid properties on contact angle are studied.


Shaobiao Cai

Committee Member

Jin Y. Park

Committee Member

Kuldeep Agarwal

Date of Degree




Document Type



Master of Science (MS)


Mechanical and Civil Engineering


Science, Engineering and Technology

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License



Rights Statement

In Copyright