Friction and wear of human hair fibres

Bowen, James; Johnson, Simon A.; Avery, Andrew R. and Adams, Michael J. (2016). Friction and wear of human hair fibres. Surface Topography: Metrology and properties, 4, article no. 024008.



An experimental study of the tribological properties of hair fibres is reported, and the effect of surface treatment on the evolution of friction and wear during sliding. Specifically, orthogonally crossed fibre/fibre contacts under a compressive normal load over a series of 10,000 cycle studies are investigated. Reciprocating sliding at a velocity of 0.4 mm/s−1, over a track length of 0.8 mm, was performed at 18oC and 40-50% relative humidity. Hair fibres retaining their natural sebum were studied, as well as those stripped of their sebum via hexane cleaning, and hair fibres conditioned using a commercially available product. Surface topography modifications resulting from wear were imaged using scanning electron microscopy and quantified using white light interferometry. Hair fibres that presented sebum or conditioned product at the fibre/fibre junction exhibited initial coefficients of friction at least 25% lower than those that were cleaned with hexane. Coefficients of friction were observed to depend on the directionality of sliding for hexane cleaned hair fibres after sufficient wear cycles that cuticle lifting was present, typically on the order 1,000 cycles. Cuticle flattening was observed for fibre/fibre junctions exposed to 10 mN compressive normal loads, whereas loads of 100 mN introduced substantial cuticle wear and fibre damage.

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