Fundamentals of adhesion failure for a model adhesive (PMMA/Glass) joint in humid environments

Kar Tean Tan, C. C. White, D. L. Hunston, C. Clerici, K. L. Steffens, J. Goldman, Bryan Vogt

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

10 Scopus citations


The origins for the abrupt adhesion loss at a critical relative humidity (RH) for polymeric adhesives bonded to inorganic surfaces were explored using a poly(methyl methacrylate) (PMMA) film on silicon oxide as a model system. The interfacial and bulk water concentrations within the polymer film were quantified as a function of D2O partial pressure using neutron reflectivity. The adhesive fracture energies of these PMMA/SiO2 interfaces at the same conditions were determined using a shaft-loaded blister test. Discontinuities in the adhesive fracture energy, bulk moisture solubility, and the width of the interfacial moisture excess near the interface were observed at the critical RH. A mechanism based on the coupling of bulk swelling-induced stresses with the decreased cohesive strength due to moisture accumulation at the interface is proposed and is consistent with all experimental observations.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)339-367
Number of pages29
JournalJournal of Adhesion
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Apr 1 2008


All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

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

Cite this

Tan, K. T., White, C. C., Hunston, D. L., Clerici, C., Steffens, K. L., Goldman, J., & Vogt, B. (2008). Fundamentals of adhesion failure for a model adhesive (PMMA/Glass) joint in humid environments. Journal of Adhesion, 84(4), 339-367.