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Penn and Brown researchers demonstrate earthquake friction effect at the nanoscale
Date:11/30/2011

e. So, you need a very large effect on the level of a single contact point to get even a very modest effect on the macroscopic scale."

While showing that nansocale experiment can provide useful data for these kinds of applications was in itself an important finding for the research team, the ability to reconcile the laboratory data with geologists' observations will have a lasting effect on the field.

"If we can understand the fundamental physics," Tullis said, "then theories and equations based on that physics would have the capability of being extrapolated beyond the laboratory scale. Therefore we could use them with more confidence in all the earthquake modeling that's already being done."

"We're not ruling out the quantity argument, we're just ruling in the quality argument," Carpick said. "Future research will go to higher stress levels, where maybe contact quantity could start to come into play. We'd also like to look at different temperatures, which matter in the geological context, and do experiments where we can actually watch the contact in real time, using an electron microscope."


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Contact: Evan Lerner
elerner@upenn.edu
215-573-6604
University of Pennsylvania
Source:Eurekalert

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