A novel method for low load friction testing on living cells

Jessica A. Cobb, Alison C. Dunn, Jiwoon Kwon, Malisa Sarntinoranont, W. Gregory Sawyer, Roger Tran-Son-Tay

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


A low load tribology technique for studying the effects of friction on living cells was developed. Results show a direct relationship between the coefficient of friction (COF) and the extent of cell damage. The COF, μ, for a glass pin on an intact layer of human corneal epithelial cells is determined to be on the order of μ = 0.05 ± 0.02 (n = 16). The correlations between applied normal load and extent of cell damage, as well as between number of reciprocation cycles and cell damage, are reported. It is also found that cell damage can occur when a loading force as low as 0.5 mN is applied, although the cells appear to be intact.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)801-806
Number of pages6
JournalBiotechnology Letters
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 2008
Externally publishedYes


  • Cell
  • Friction
  • Human corneal epithelial cell
  • Tribology

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biotechnology
  • Bioengineering
  • Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology


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