We examine the development of a frictional instability, with diverging sliding rate, at the interface of elastic bodies in contact. Evolution of friction is determined by a slip rate and state dependence. Following Viesca (2016 Phys. Rev. E 93, 060202(R). (doi:10.1103/PhysRevE.93.060202)), we show through an appropriate change of variable, the existence of blow-up solutions that are fixed points of a dynamical system. The solutions show self-similarity of the simple variety: separable dependence of time and space. For an interface with uniform frictional properties, there is a single-problem parameter. We examine the linear stability of these fixed points, as this problem parameter is varied. Specifically, we consider two archetypical elastic settings of the slip surface, in which interactions between points on the surface are either local or non-local. We show that, independent of the nature of elastic interactions, the fixed-points lose stability in the same matter as the parameter is increased towards a limit value: an apparently infinite sequence of Hopf bifurcations. However, for any value of the parameter, the nonlinear development of the instability is attraction, if not asymptotic convergence, towards these fixed points, owing to the existence of stable eigenmodes. For comparison, we perform numerical solutions of the original evolution equations and find precise agreement with the results of the analysis.
- Received April 8, 2016.
- Accepted July 4, 2016.
- © 2016 The Author(s)
Published by the Royal Society. All rights reserved.