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Tribology Letters

, Volume 4, Issue 1, pp 1–35 | Cite as

Contact mechanics of rough surfaces in tribology: multiple asperity contact

  • Bharat Bhushan
Article

Abstract

Contact modeling of two rough surfaces under normal approach and with relative motion is carried out to predict real area of contact and surface and subsurface stresses affecting friction and wear of an interface. When two macroscopically flat bodies with microroughness come in contact, the contact occurs at multiple asperities of arbitrary shapes, and varying sizes and heights. Deformation at the asperity contacts can be either elastic and/or elastic-plastic. If a thin liquid film is present at the interface, attractive meniscus forces may affect friction and wear. Historically, statistical models have been used to predict contact parameters, and these generally require many assumptions about asperity geometry and height distributions. With the advent of computer technology, numerical contact models of 3-D rough surfaces have been developed, particularly in the past decade, which can simulate digitized rough surfaces with no assumptions concerning the roughness distribution. In this article, a comprehensive review of modeling of multiple-asperity contacts in dry and wet conditions is presented. Contact models for homogeneous and layered, elastic and elastic-plastic solids with and without tangential loading are presented. The models reviewed in this paper fall into two groups: (a) analytical solutions for surfaces with well-defined height distributions and asperity geometry and (b) numerical solutions for real surfaces with asperities of arbitrary shape and varying size and height distributions. Implications of these models in friction and wear studies are discussed.

contact mechanics tribology asperity contact surface deformation contact area rough surfaces 

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Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 1998

Authors and Affiliations

  • Bharat Bhushan
    • 1
  1. 1.Computer Microtribology and Contamination Laboratory, Department of Mechanical EngineeringThe Ohio State UniversityColumbusUSA

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