A Conceptual Model for Fluid Gel Lubrication
Although fluid gels have found a large number of applications (in every day food products and cosmetics), their lubrication behaviour is still not fully understood. In this work the lubrication behaviour of agarose fluid gels has been investigated and the mechanism describing the process is proposed. A wide range of agarose concentrations was studied (1% to 4%) and it gave fluid gel particles with different levels of elasticity E, which are shown to affect both their rheological and tribological behaviour. The critical velocity required to induce entrainment of the particles was found to also depend on the particles’ elasticity E but in addition to the applied normal load W. Fluid gel systems of the same elasticity E but of different particle sizes were also investigated and an overall reduction in friction with decreasing size was obtained. The present study is of interest to all processes involving soft contact between particles and surfaces; a clear example being the understanding of astringency during mastication.