Adhesive strength of rubber bonded to Al2O3 surfaces: The role of chemistry and morphology

J. Browning, N. Newman, R. Ghetzler, M. Mast, B. Swendson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Tensile pull tests were performed on polydimethylsiloxane (PDMS) rubber bonded to single-crystal and ceramic Al2O3 substrates prepared using several surface treatments. An accurate and reliable mechanical test method was developed using a frustro-conical geometry to eliminate the influence of tri-axial stress effects at the periphery. Properties of the sample surface were quantified prior to encapsulation using surface science techniques. Chemical cleaning of atomically-smooth sapphire resulted in a significantly larger joint strength (1 MPa) than attained from as-received substrates (0.448 MPa). The introduction of a significant amount of contamination (∼ 25 nm thick) from isopropyl alcohol (IPA) residue resulted in even weaker adhesion (0.241 MPa). Abrasive cleaning of sapphire using fine (∼ 100 micron) Al2O3 beads created more 0.5-1.0 micron topographic features and significantly higher joint strengths (1.103 MPa) than for similarly-prepared surfaces using coarse (∼ 350 micron) Al2O3 beads (0.621 MPa). The application of a titanate-modified silicone primer resulted in the greatest joint strength encountered (> 1.207 MPa), even when significant levels of surface contamination were present prior to priming. Adhesion to ceramic Al2O3 substrates was systematically stronger than to sapphire for as-received samples (0.965 MPa), abrasively-cleaned surfaces (1.034 MPa), and surfaces containing IPA residue (0.827 MPa) as a result of the rougher topography.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)229-253
Number of pages25
JournalJournal of Adhesion
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2001
Externally publishedYes


  • Adhesion
  • Ceramic
  • Interface
  • Morphology
  • PDMS
  • Rubber
  • Sapphire substrate

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Chemistry(all)
  • Mechanics of Materials
  • Surfaces and Interfaces
  • Surfaces, Coatings and Films
  • Materials Chemistry


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