On the velocity-strengthening behavior of dry friction

Yohai Bar-Sinai, Robert Spatschek, Efim A. Brener, Eran Bouchbinder

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The onset of frictional instabilities, e.g., earthquakes nucleation, is intimately related to velocity-weakening friction, in which the frictional resistance of interfaces decreases with increasing slip velocity. While this frictional response has been studied extensively, less attention has been given to steady state velocity-strengthening friction, in spite of its potential importance for various aspects of frictional phenomena such as the propagation speed of interfacial rupture fronts and the amount of stored energy released by them. In this note we suggest that a crossover from steady state velocity-weakening friction at small slip velocities to steady state velocity-strengthening friction at higher velocities might be a generic feature of dry friction. We further argue that while thermally activated rheology naturally gives rise to logarithmic steady state velocity-strengthening friction, a crossover to stronger-than-logarithmic strengthening might take place at higher slip velocities, possibly accompanied by a change in the dominant dissipation mechanism. We sketch a few physical mechanisms that may account for the crossover to stronger-than-logarithmic steady state velocity strengthening and compile a rather extensive set of experimental data available in the literature, lending support to these ideas.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1738-1748
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Geophysical Research: Solid Earth
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 2014
Externally publishedYes


  • constitutive laws
  • friction
  • slow rupture
  • stable slip
  • velocity-strengthening


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