A Numerical Three-Dimensional Model for the Contact of Rough Surfaces by Variational Principle

[+] Author and Article Information
Xuefeng Tian, Bharat Bhushan

Computer Microtribology and Contamination Laboratory, Department of Mechanical Engineering, The Ohio State University, Columbus, OH 43210-1107

J. Tribol 118(1), 33-42 (Jan 01, 1996) (10 pages) doi:10.1115/1.2837089 History: Received June 16, 1994; Revised February 10, 1995; Online January 24, 2008


A new numerical method for the analysis of elastic and elastic-plastic contacts of two rough surfaces has been developed. The method is based on a variational principle in which the real area of contact and contact pressure distribution are those which minimize the total complementary potential energy. The present variational approach guarantees the uniqueness of the solution of the contact problem and significantly reduces the computation time as compared with the conventional matrix inversion method, and thus, makes it feasible to solve 3-D contact problem with large number of contact points. The model is extended to elastic-perfectly plastic contacts. The model is used to predict contact statistics for computer generated surfaces.

Copyright © 1996 by The American Society of Mechanical Engineers
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