Studies of human hair by friction force microscopy with the hair-model-probe

Megumi Sadaie, Naoki Nishikawa, Satomi Ohnishi, Kaoru Tamada, Kiyoshi Yase, Masahiko Hara

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28 Citations (Scopus)


We employed a cantilever modified with a self-assembled monolayer (SAM) as a "hair-model-probe" for friction force microscopy (FFM) to measure friction acting between hair and hair-like surfaces. The "hair-model-probe" was prepared by forming a SAM of octadecanethiol on a gold-coated cantilever. We investigated frictional properties of human hair at both root and tip, and the dependency on applied load, influence of scanning direction, and local frictional distribution. The friction coefficient of the hair tip was greater than that of the hair root. Load dependency of friction at the hair tip was clearly observed, while friction at the hair root was less dependent on applied load. At the hair root, an anisotropic frictional property was observed: friction force along the long axis of the hair fiber was about 1.5-2 times larger than that along the short axis. Atomic force microscopy (AFM) images showed striations on the cuticle cells that have about 6 nm depth and their long axis oriented in the direction of the hair fiber. The frictional distribution images revealed that the local areas showing strong shear corresponded to striations. Since such distribution of friction was not observed at the hair tip, it is suggested that the anisotropic frictional property at the hair root was caused mainly by the striations. The frictional distribution in regions that excluded the striations also showed the anisotropic frictional property that friction parallel to the long axis of the hair fiber is greater than that along the short axis. This result suggests that the orientation of fatty acid molecules comprising the fat layer (F-layer) may also contribute to the anisotropic frictional property. We have concluded that loss of the F-layer is a dominant cause of strong friction detected at the hair tip, and at the striations of the hair root.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)120-129
Number of pages10
JournalColloids and Surfaces B: Biointerfaces
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Aug 15 2006
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Biotechnology
  • Surfaces and Interfaces
  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry
  • Colloid and Surface Chemistry


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