On the Modeling of Elastic Contact between Rough Surfaces

Robert L. Jackson, Itzhak Green
2011 Tribology Transactions  
The contact force and the real contact area between rough surfaces are important in the prediction of friction, wear, adhesion, and electrical and thermal contact resistance. Over the last four decades various mathematical models have been developed. Built on very different assumptions and underlying mathematical frameworks, model agreement or effectiveness has never been thoroughly investigated. This work uses several measured profiles of real surfaces having vastly different roughness
more » ... t roughness characteristics to predict contact areas and forces from various elastic contact models and contrast them to a deterministic fast Fourier transform (FFT)-based contact model. The latter is considered "exact" because surfaces are analyzed as they are measured, accounting for all peaks and valleys without compromise. Though measurement uncertainties and resolution issues prevail, the same surfaces are kept constant (i.e., are identical) for all models considered. Nonetheless, the effect of the data resolution of measured surface profiles will be investigated as well. A, vol. 295, pp. 300-319), along with an alternative definition of the plasticity index that is based on a multiscale approach. The results reveal that several of the theoretical models show good quantitative and qualitative agreement among themselves, but though most models produce a nominally linear relationship between the real contact area and load, the deterministic model suggests otherwise in some cases. Regardless, all of the said models reduce the complicated surface profiles to only a few key parameters and it is therefore unrealistic to expect them to make precise predictions for all cases. An exact closed-form solution is offered for the widely used Greenwood and Williamson (GW) model (Greenwood and Williamson, Proceedings of the Royal Society of London
doi:10.1080/10402004.2010.542277 fatcat:bq52yw4favcw7kametsaiomohi