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Rate and State Dependent Friction and the Stability of Sliding Between Elastically Deformable Solids

James R. Rice, & Nadia Lapusta

Published September 2001, SCEC Contribution #565

We study the stability of steady sliding between elastically deformable continua using rate and state dependent friction laws. That is done for both elastically identical and elastically dissimilar solids. The focus is on linearized response to perturbations of steady-state sliding, and on studying how the positive direct effect (instantaneous increase or decrease of shear strength in response to a respective instantaneous increase or decrease of slip rate) of those laws allows the existence of a quasi-static range of response to perturbations at sufficiently low slip rate. We discuss the physical basis of rate and state laws, including the likely basis for the direct effect in thermally activated processes allowing creep slippage at asperity contacts, and estimate activation parameters for quartzite and granite. Also, a class of rate and state laws suitable for variable normal stress is presented. As part of the work, we show that compromises from the rate and state framework for describing velocity-weakening friction lead to paradoxical results, like supersonic propagation of slip perturbations, or to ill-posedness, when applied to sliding between elastically deformable solids. The case of sliding between elastically dissimilar solids has the inherently destabilizing feature that spatially inhomogeneous slip leads to an alteration of normal stress, hence of frictional resistance. We show that the rate and state friction laws nevertheless lead to stability of response to sufficiently short wavelength perturbations, at very slow slip rates. Further, for slow sliding between dissimilar solids, we show that there is a critical amplitude of velocity-strengthening above which there is stability to perturbations of all wavelengths.

Rice, J. R., & Lapusta, N. (2001). Rate and State Dependent Friction and the Stability of Sliding Between Elastically Deformable Solids. Journal of the Mechanics and Physics of Solids, 49(9), 1865-1898. doi: 10.1016/S0022-5096(01)00042-4 .