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Phys Rev Lett. 2011 Jul 8;107(2):024301. Epub 2011 Jul 6.

Stabilizing stick-slip friction.

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  • 1School of Chemistry, Tel Aviv University, 69978 Tel Aviv, Israel.


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.

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