Intermolecular forces are known to precipitate adhesion events between solid bodies. Inspired by a macro- scale experiment showing the hysteretic adhesion of a piece of flexible tape over a plastic substrate, we develop here a model of far-field dry adhesion between two flexible sheets interacting via a power-law potential. We show that phase transitions from unadhered to adhered states occur as dictated by a dimensionless bending parameter representing the ratio of interaction strength to bending stiffness. The order of the adhesion transitions, as well as their hysteretic nature, is shown to depend on the form of the interaction potential between the flexible sheets. When three or more sheets interact, additional geometrical considerations determine the hierarchical or sequential nature of the adhesion transitions.
A. A. Evans and E. Lauga, Adhesion transition of flexible sheets, Phys. Rev. E 79 066116 (2009) pdf