Stick-slip substructure in rapid tape peeling

Sigurdur T Thoroddsen, H. D. Nguyen, K. Takehara, T. G. Etoh

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations


The peeling of adhesive tape is known to proceed with a stick-slip mechanism and produces a characteristic ripping sound. The peeling also produces light and when peeled in a vacuum, even X-rays have been observed, whose emissions are correlated with the slip events. Here we present direct imaging of the detachment zone when Scotch tape is peeled off at high speed from a solid surface, revealing a highly regular substructure, during the slip phase. The typical 4-mm-long slip region has a regular substructure of transverse 220 μm wide slip bands, which fracture sideways at speeds over 300 m/s. The fracture tip emits waves into the detached section of the tape at ∼100 m/s, which promotes the sound, so characteristic of this phenomenon.
Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalPhysical Review E
Issue number4
StatePublished - Oct 15 2010


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