Surface stress can take over the role of bulk elasticity in resisting deformation due to adhesion between particles, replacing JKR theory. Here are some of our contributions:
Hui, Chung-Yuen, Tianshu Liu, Thomas Salez, Elie Raphael, and Anand Jagota. “Indentation of a rigid sphere into an elastic substrate with surface tension and adhesion.” Proc. R. Soc. A 471, no. 2175 (2015): 20140727.