Stabilizing Stick-Slip Friction


Rosario Capozza, Shmuel M. Rubinstein, Itay Barel, Michael Urbakh, and Jay Fineberg


Even the most regular stick-slip frictional sliding is always stochastic, with irregularity in both the

intervals between slip events and the sizes of the associated stress drops. Applying small-amplitude

oscillations to the shear force, we show, experimentally and theoretically, that the stick-slip periods

synchronize. We further show that this phase locking is related to the inhibition of slow rupture modes

which forces a transition to fast rupture, providing a possible mechanism for observed remote triggering of

earthquakes. Such manipulation of collective modes may be generally relevant to extended nonlinear

systems driven near to criticality.


DOI: 10.1103/PhysRevLett.107.024301 PACS numbers: 46.55.+d, 46.50.+a, 81.40.Pq, 91.30.Px