Elastic wave induced by friction as a signature of human skin ageing and gender effect

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In this work, we propose an innovative approach based on a rotary tribometer coupled with laser velocimetry for measuring the elastic wave propagation on the skin.


The method is based on a dynamic contact with the control of the normal force (Fn), the contact length and speed. During the test a quantification of the friction force is produced.


The elastic wave generated by friction is measured at the surface of the skin 35 mm from the source of friction exciter. In order to quantify the spectral range and the energy property of the wave generated, we have used laser velocimetry whose spot laser diameter is 120 μm, which samples the elastic wave propagation at a frequency which may reach 100 kHz. In this configuration, the speaker is the friction exciter and the listener the laser velocimetry. In order to perform non-invasive friction tests, the normal stress has been set to 0.3 N and the rotary velocity to 3 revolutions per second, which involves a sliding velocity of 63 mm/s.

Results and Conclusions:

This newly developed innovative tribometer has been used for the analysis of the elastic wave propagation induced by friction on human skin during chronological ageing and gender effect. Measurements in vivo have been made on 60 healthy men and women volunteers, aged from 25 to 70. The results concerning the energy of the elastic wave signature induced by friction show a clear difference between the younger and older groups in the range of a low band of frequencies (0–200 Hz). The gender effect was marked by a 20% decrease in the energy of elastic wave propagation in the female group.

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