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Tribology International 33 (2000) 431442

Contact modeling forces

G.G. Adams *, M. Nosonovsky
Department of Mechanical, Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering, Northeastern University, Boston, MA 02115, USA


This paper reviews contact modeling with an emphasis on the forces of contact and their relationship to the geometrical, material
and mechanical properties of the contacting bodies. Single asperity contact models are treated first. These models include simple
Hertz contacts for spheres, cylinders, and ellipsoids. Further generalizations include the effects of friction, plasticity, adhesion, and
higher-order terms which describe the local surface topography. Contact with a rough surface is generally represented by a multi-
asperity contact model. Included is the well-known GreenwoodWilliamson contact model, as well as a myriad of other models,
many of which represent various modifications of the basic theory. Also presented in this review is a description of wavy surface
contact models, with and without the effects of friction. These models inherently account for the coupling between each of the
contacting areas. A brief review of experimental investigations is also included. Finally some recent work, which addresses the
dynamics and associated instabilities of sliding contact, is presented and the implications discussed. 2000 Elsevier Science Ltd.
All rights reserved.

Keywords: Contact; Contact mechanics; Contact pressure

1. Introduction contact and Bhushan [8] for multi-asperity contacts give

comprehensive reviews of contact mechanics of rough
This paper provides a review of contact modeling with surfaces.
an emphasis on contact forces, rather than on the detailed In problems involving topograpically smooth surfaces
state of stress in the contacting bodies. Related to contact the real area of contact is the same as the apparent area
modeling is contact mechanics in which the two con- of contact. Real surfaces, however, always possess some
tacting bodies are topographically smooth and the degree of roughness. Thus contact between two bodies
emphasis is on determining the relationship between the always occurs at or near the peaks of contacting
applied load, contact area, and contact stress. Due to the asperities and so the real area of contact will generally be
mathematical complexity involved, such problems are much less than the apparent contact area. Thus contact
typically restricted to linear elasticity, although the finite modeling consists of two related steps. First the equa-
element method and the boundary element method have tions representing the contact of a single pair of
also been used in order to obtain solutions to problems asperities are determined. In general this procedure
with complicated geometries and material behaviors. includes elastic, elasticplastic, or completely plastic
The monographs by Johnson [1] and Hills et al. [2] pro- deformation. Depending on the scale of the contact, plas-
vide comprehensive treatments of contact mechanics, ticity effects may be penetration depth dependent. For
whereas those of Gladwell [3] and Galin [4] give more namometer scale contacts the effects of adhesion on the
mathematical descriptions of contact problems, and normal force may also be important. The applied force
Kikuchi and Oden [5] and Khludnev and Sokolowski [6] may be normal to the contacting area or it may include
provide variational and finite element treatments. Finally a tangential component. The tangential component is
the review articles by Bhushan [7] for single asperity resisted by friction. Although the effect of surface layers
may be important in many applications, a review of that
area is outside the scope of this work. The monographs
* Corresponding author. Tel.: +1-617-373-3826; fax: +1-617-373- [1,2] and the review article [8] are valuable sources of
2921. information for study in that area. Because real surfaces
E-mail address: (G.G. Adams). have roughness, it is necessary to combine the effects of

0301-679X/00/$ - see front matter 2000 Elsevier Science Ltd. All rights reserved.
PII: S 0 3 0 1 - 6 7 9 X ( 0 0 ) 0 0 0 6 3 - 3
432 G.G. Adams, M. Nosonovsky / Tribology International 33 (2000) 431442

a large number of asperity contacts. In many instances tity dd1+d2 is called the normal approach or the inter-
it may be possible to treat these contacts as uncoupled ference.
from each other, whereas in other instances the effect of For the case of solids of revolution, the contact area
coupling is very important. Finally dynamic instabilities is circular. The interference, contact radius (a), and
have recently been shown to occur under nominally ste- maximum contact pressure are given by [1]

ady sliding conditions. These instabilities can lead to dif-
ferences between the measured friction force and the 9P2 1/3
3PR 1/3
d , a ,
resultant of interface shear stresses that would be 16RE2 4E

obtained with Coulombs sliding friction law.
6PE2 1/3
1 1n21 1n22 1 1 1
p0 , , (1)
p3R2 E E1 E2 R R1 R2
2. Contact mechanics for a single asperity where p0 is the maximum contact pressure (which occurs
at r=0), E* is the composite Youngs modulus, E1,E2 and
2.1. Hertz contact n1,n2 are the Youngs modulii and Poissons ratios for
the lower and upper body respectively, R is the com-
Consider two rough solid bodies brought into physical posite radius of curvature and R1,R2 are the radii of cur-
contact through the action of applied forces. Contact vature of the lower and upper bodies respectively. Thus
between the two bodies occurs over many small areas, the contact area and the interference each vary as the
each of which constitutes a single asperity contact. It is 2/3 power of the applied force. The contact pressure dis-
necessary to relate the force acting on a single asperity tribution is semi-elliptical with radius r and has a
to its deformation and contact area. The well-known sol- maximum value at the origin equal to 3/2 of the average
ution of this problem was developed in the late nine- contact pressure.
teenth century by Hertz [9]. The assumptions for what Analogous expressions may be written for the contact
has become known as the Hertz contact problem are: (1) of two cylindrical bodies whose long axii are parallel to
the contact area is elliptical; (2) each body is approxi- the yaxis. The results for the half-width of the contact
mated by an elastic half-space loaded over the plane strip (a) and the maximum contact pressure are [1]
elliptical contact area; (3) the dimensions of the contact
area must be small compared to the dimensions of each
body and to the radii of curvature of the surfaces; (4)
the strains are sufficiently small for linear elasticity to
, p0

be valid; and (5) the contact is frictionless, so that only where P is the applied load per unit length of ydirec-
a normal pressure is transmitted. Two contacting solids tion. The contact pressure distribution is again semi-
are shown after deformation in Fig. 1. The point of first elliptical, this time with a maximum value at the origin
contact is taken as the origin of a cartesian coordinate equal to 4/p times the average contact pressure. The nor-
system with the xy plane as the common tangent plane mal approach d is, however, indeterminate. This inde-
and the zaxis directed downwards. Using the notation terminacy is a general consequence of two-dimensional
of Johnson [1], during compression by the normal load loading of an elastic half-space the approach of dis-
P, distant points T1 and T2 displace distances d1 and d2 tant points in the cylinders can take on any value
respectively parallel to the zaxis towards O. The quan- depending upon the choice of datum.
These Eqs. (1) and (2) are special cases of the more
general results for nonconformal contact of bodies of
general ellipsoidal profiles. The contact area is elliptical
and the contact pressure distribution is semi-ellipsoidal.
Detailed results for contact area and interference vs. nor-
mal force are fairly complicated and are given by John-
son [1] and Cooper [10]. For moderately elliptical con-
tacts, Greenwood [11] showed that the contact pressure
and approach can be approximated by using the circular
contact formulas with an equivalent radius of curvature
equal to (AB)1/2, where A and B are the principal rela-
tive curvatures. In [12] Greenwood compares different
approximate methods for calculating stresses in elliptical
Hertzian contacts and concludes that the method of [11]
gives less than a 3% error for 1B/A5. Approxi-
mations which are more accurate for higher ellipticities
Fig. 1. Hertz contact of two nonconforming elastic bodies. are also given.
G.G. Adams, M. Nosonovsky / Tribology International 33 (2000) 431442 433

2.2. Elasticplastic and fully plastic contacts length scale and so are incapable of predicting this
effect. Recently several straingradient theories of plas-
The solutions for Hertz contact remain valid until the ticity have been developed which provide the needed
applied load is sufficiently large so as to initiate plastic length scale. These papers are reviewed by Hutchinson
deformation [13]. The Tresca maximum shear stress [19].
theory states that plastic deformation begins at a point
in the body at which the maximum shear stress reaches 2.3. Friction and tangential loading
a critical value, i.e. Consider now the application of a tangential load (F)
max{|s1s2|, |s2s3|, |s3s1|}Y (3) to a Hertzian contact. The first situation to be treated is
applicable for any of three cases (1) a pair of identical
where s1,s2,s3 are the principal stresses and Y is the materials; (2) one rigid material and the other incom-
yield stress in the simple tension test. Another theory, pressible (n=1/2); or (3) both materials incompressible.
the von Mises criterion, states that yielding occurs when In these cases normal stresses do not cause relative tan-
the distortional strain energy reaches a critical value. The gential displacements and shear stress do not produce
result for the initiation of yielding is relative normal displacements. This uncoupling greatly
(s1s2)2(s2s3)2(s3s1)22Y2 (4) simplifies the analysis. In the absence of a tangential
force, contacting points will not tend to undergo tangen-
which, for pure shear, predicts yielding at a stress 15.5% tial displacements and therefore slip does not tend to
higher than does the Tresca criterion. occur regardless of whether or not friction is present. For
For the Hertz contact of two spheres, the maximum the plane strain contact of two cylinders, it was shown
shear stress for n=0.3 occurs at a depth of 0.48 a and independently by Cattaneo [20] and Mindlin [21] that
has a value of 0.31 p0. Thus both the Tresca and von there is a central stick region surrounded by two slip
Mises theories predict the onset of yielding when [7] zones. As the tangential force increases, the size of the

stick region decreases until overall sliding of the asperity
R2Y3 Y 2
(p0)Y1.60Y, PY21.2 , dY6.32R (5) begins. This sliding occurs with Coulombs law of slid-
E2 E ing friction satisfied (F=mP), where m is the coefficient
of sliding friction and with no distinction between static
Yielding will initiate in the material with the lower and kinetic friction.
yield strength. Equations analogous to Eqs. (3)(5) are After sliding of an asperity is initiated, the effect of
given by Johnson [1] and Bhushan [7] for the plane friction is to superimpose a stress which is caused by
strain contact of two cylinders. the tangential contact stress q. This tangential contact
As the load continues to increase, the size of the plas- stress alters the stresses in the half-spaces and hence
tic zone also increases. However, until the plastic zone changes the load at which plastic deformation is
reaches the surface, it is constrained by the surrounding initiated. Furthermore for sufficiently high friction
elastic material. An analytical solution has been obtained (m0.3) the maximum shear stress occurs at the inter-
for full plasticity by Ishlinsky [14]; the contact pressure face [22], rather than sub-surface, and hence the tran-
in the middle is somewhat higher than the mean contact sition from elasticplastic to fully plastic behavior
pressure (pm). Thus while elasticplastic behavior occurs more rapidly than without friction. The details of
initiates at pm=1.07 Y, fully plastic behavior corre- the contact stresses for sliding of dissimilar materials
sponds to was determined by Bufler [23] and are recorded by John-
son [1].
pmH2.8Y (6) The effect of dry friction without tangential loading
has been incorporated into a study of contacting spheres
where H is called the hardness of the lower yield
by Goodman [24]. For a pair of different elastic
strength material. Chang et al. [15] give a relationship
materials the coupling between normal and shear stresses
between pm and H which depends upon the Possions
is small and is sometimes neglected [24]. Complete sol-
ratio. Tabor [16] showed that the load increases by a
utions which include the effect of shear tractions on nor-
factor of about 300 and the contact radius increases by
mal pressure have been obtained by Mossakovski [25]
a factor of about 10 from the onset of yielding until fully
and Spence [26,27]. They show that the effect of friction
plastic deformation. Work-hardening materials which
is to increase the load required to produce a contact of
strain-harden according to a power law were considered
a given size by less than 5%.
by Matthews [17].
Indentation testing has been known to give hardness 2.4. Non-Hertzian elastic contacts
values which are depth dependent (e.g. Bhushan [18]);
the smaller the indentation depth the greater is the meas- In the above description of Hertzian contacts it has
ured hardness. Conventional plasticity theories lack a been tacitly assumed that the contacting bodies are non-
434 G.G. Adams, M. Nosonovsky / Tribology International 33 (2000) 431442

conforming. The local geometry of such non-conforming [29] and, using a different technique, Sneddon [30], who
contacts can be characterized by the radii of curvature determined the relation between the contact radius, the
at the contacting points. Now consider an example of a applied force and the interference, i.e.
contact in which the profile(s) of the contacting bodies
cannot be adequately represented by a second-degree 1 1
P pa2Ecot a, d pa cot a (11)
polynomial, i.e. the gap between the undeformed axi- 2 2
symmetric bodies is given by
h(r)Anr2n (7) Note that the contact area is proportional to the applied
force and the interference varies as the square-root of the
where n is a positive integer. Such a surface has a curva-
force. The results for the corresponding two-dimensional
ture which increases from zero at its peak and may be
contact of a blunt wedge with an elastic half-plane are
useful in modeling a highly burnished asperity. The sol-
given by Johnson [1] as
ution of Stuermann [28], in which the bodies are mod-
eled as elastic half-spaces, can be applied, i.e. PaEcot a (12)
P , dAngna2n (8)
2n+1 Although the contact stress is singular under the apex of
where the cone/wedge, the maximum shear stress is bounded.

242n 2.5. Contact at the nanometer scale adhesion

At a scale of many nanometers, the solid bodies can
For the two-dimensional contact problem with an still be treated as a continuum, but the effects of surface
initial gap given by forces in the immediate vicinity of the contact region
can become important [31]. The adhesive stress s(z) is
h(x)Anx2n (9)
typically represented by the LennardJones potential

the force per unit length is related to the half-width of 3 9
contact by 8w z z
s(z) (13)
3z0 z0 z0
PnpEAna2n/gn (10)
where z is the separation between atomic planes, z0 is
For n=1 the above reduces to Hertz contact, whereas the equilibrium separation, and w is the work of
for large n, the stress distribution approaches that of a adhesion, i.e.
flat-ended punch which has singular stresses at the cor- wgg1g2g12 (14)
The Hertz contact theory is restricted to cases in which
the surface profile has continuous displacement and In Eq. (14) g1,g2,g12 are the corresponding surface
slope. Consider now the contact of a blunt cone (the energies.
half-cone angle a is close to 90) with an elastic half- A model of the adhesion force was developed by
space (Fig. 2). This problem was considered by Love Bradley [32] for rigid spheres which gives

8pwR 1 z
3 4 z0


The corresponding pull-off force PC occurs when z=z0

and is given by PC=2pwR.
Subsequently two different models were proposed for
the contact of elastic spheres. These models were due to
Johnson, Kendall and Roberts (JKR) [33] and Derjaguin,
Muller and Toporov (DMT) [34]. These theories
appeared at first to be contradictory until it was pointed
out by Tabor [35] that these models were valid for differ-
ent ranges of the parameter m defined by

Fig. 2. A blunt elastic wedge (cone) pressed against an elastic

G.G. Adams, M. Nosonovsky / Tribology International 33 (2000) 431442 435

The parameter m represents the magnitude of the elas- coupled. Uncoupled contact models represent surface
tic deformation compared with the range of surface roughness as a set of asperities, often with statistically
forces. The JKR theory assumes that the adhesive forces distributed parameters such as height or summit curva-
are confined to inside the contact area and thus gives a ture (Fig. 3). The effect of each individual asperity is
pull-off force of 1.5pwR. The DMT model assumes that local and considered separately from other asperities; the
the adhesive forces act outside of the contact area and cumulative effect is the summation of the actions of indi-
yields PC=2pwR. The validity of the DMT model was vidual asperities. Coupled contact problems with rough
brought into question by Muller et al. [36] and Pashley surfaces are more complicated mathematically because
[37]. For small m the elastic deformation is negligible the equations of elasticity must be solved for the entire
and the Bradley model provides a reasonable approxi- body simultaneously. This procedure leads to mixed
mation of adhesive forces, whereas for large values of boundary value problems which can be solved analyti-
m the JKR model is appropriate. Experimental obser- cally only for simple configurations. One of the most
vations of contact area and load have been obtained tribologically important results of using these asperity
using the surface force apparatus [38]. Results agree well models is the calculation of the true contact area which
with the JKR theory. differs significantly from the nominal contact area. These
The investigation of Muller, Yushenko, and Derjaguin quantities differ because contact between rough surfaces
(MYD) [39] uses a LennardJones potential and allows takes place only at and near the peaks of the asperities.
for a continuous variation of m between the limits of the It is the real contact area which has a profound effect
DMT and JKR models. Greenwood [40] conducted the on friction and wear. Recently fractal analyis methods
MYD analysis more accurately and in greater detail, have also been used to model contacts.
showing that the load-approach curve is Sshaped, lead-
ing to a pull-in as well as a pull-off force. It is noted 3.1. Uncoupled multi-asperity models
that the JKR theory does not allow for the existence of
a pull-on force whereas other theories do [39,41]. Ana- 3.1.1. Elastic contacts
lytical results for the transistion between DMT and JKR Various statistical models of contact have been
were presented by Maugis [41] using a simplified model developed which are related to the pioneering work of
of adhesion based upon the Dugdale [42] crack model. Greenwood and Williamson [48] in 1966. These models
The above discussion of adhesion assumes that load- assume some distribution laws for asperity heights and
ing and unloading occurs elastically. However inelastic for asperity curvatures. The density of surface asperities
deformation leads to adhesion hysteresis [43]. For and the material and mechanical properties are also
inelastic unloading the energy released must overcome important. In general, the result of this type of analysis
dissipation as well as the work of adhesion and conse- is that if the number of asperities (N) in contact is con-
quently additional work is needed to separate these stant and the deformation is elastic, the true area of con-
deformed surfaces. Ductile separation has been observed tact A is proportional to P2/3, where P is the applied load.
with an atomic force microscope [44] at a scale of 2 nm. If the number of asperity contacts increase, but the aver-
Molecular dynamics simulations of a small number of age size of each asperity contact remains constant, then
atoms also show this phenomenon [45]. A is proportional to P regardless of whether the defor-
Johnson [43] extended the models of adhesion to mation is elastic or plastic. This proportionally is
include static and sliding friction. The approach is important because it allows an adhesion based friction
through the concept of fracture mechanics, in which the theory to be consistent with the observed Amontons
elastic strain energy release rate is equated to the work Coulomb friction law.
done against surface forces (both adhesive and The statistical models are based on the calculation of
frictional). There is some experimental evidence that probability of contact (P) at a given asperity of height
under tangential loading an adhesive contact will tend z, for two surfaces separated by a distance d, i.e.
to peel apart [46], suggesting an interaction between nor-

mal adhesive and tangential frictional forces. Recently
the use of the surface force apparatus (SFA) Homola et P(zd) p(z)dz (17)
al. [38] and the atomic force microscope [47] has made d
it possible to measure friction and adhesion forces in a
sliding experiment. The theory of [43] is in good agree-
ment with experimental findings.

3. Multi-asperity contact models

Conventional multi-asperity contact models may be
categorized as predominately uncoupled or completely Fig. 3. A rough half-space and a flat body soon to be in contact.
436 G.G. Adams, M. Nosonovsky / Tribology International 33 (2000) 431442

where p(z) is the probability density function of was considered in 1940 by Zhuravlev [50] and yielded
asperity heights. an almost linear result
The Greenwood and Williamson (GW) model [48]
ACP10/11 (24)
assumes that, in the contact between one rough and one
smooth surface, (1) the rough surface is isotropic; (2) where C is a constant. Greenwood and Tripp [51]
asperities are spherical near their summits; (3) all extended Zhuravlevs model for non-aligned asperities
asperity summits have the same radius of curvature and demonstrated that misalignment leads to a more
while their heights vary randomly; and (4) there is no nearly proportional relation between contact area and
bulk deformation and thus no interaction between force, i.e. A=CP12/13. Ling [52] used a simple rectangular
neighboring asperities. Thus the total area of true con- height distribution
tact is
p(z) , LzL (25)

ApNR (zd)p(z)dz (18) and obtained similar results.
d The contact of a rough sphere with a smooth sphere
and the total load is was studied by Greenwood and Tripp [53]. They found
that the Hertzian results are valid at sufficiently high

loads, while at lower loads the effective pressure distri-
P(4/3)ENR1/2 (zd)3/2p(z)dz (19) bution is much lower and extends much further than for
smooth surfaces. Greenwood [54] studied the true area
of contact between a rough surface and a flat. He applied
a constriction resistance method to measure the area of
Two distributions of the asperity heights were con- true contact and developed a method of finding the
sidered the exponential distribution resistance of a cluster of microcontacts. Greenwood [55]
also showed that for elastic solids with randomly distrib-
p(z)ez, z0 (20)
uted asperity heights, the average size of an asperity con-
and the Gaussian distribution tact is almost independent of load. Therefore, like the
case of a pure plastic material, the dependence of the
1 2/2
true contact area on the load is almost linear. Greenwood
p(z) ez

2p and Tripp [51] showed that the contact of two rough
surfaces can be modeled by the contact of one flat and
one rough surface. The equivalent rough surface is
The exponential distribution leads to a linear depen- characterized by an asperity curvature which is a sum
dence of the true contact area on the applied load, of the asperity curvatures of the two rough surfaces, i.e.
whereas the Gaussian distribution yields an almost lin-
ear dependence. 1 1 1
Greenwood and Williamson [48] also use the plas- R R1 R2
ticity index f given by
and the peak-height distribution of the equivalent surface
f(E/H)(s/R)1/2 (22) has a standard deviation given by
where s is the standard deviation of asperity heights.
sp s2p1+s2p2. (27)
The plasticity index is responsible for the transition from
elastic to plastic deformation low values of f corre-
spond to elastic deformations whereas high values are Whitehouse and Archard [56] considered the random
associated with plastic deformation. During the initial surface profile as a random signal characterized by a
contact of most metal surfaces prepared with an engin- height distribution and an autocorrelation function. This
eering finish the deformation will be predominantly plas- is shown to be equivalent to asperities having a statistical
tic [49]. However repeated loading introduces permanent distribution of both heights and radii. Onions and Arch-
deformations and residual stresses which can cause ste- ard [57] studied a model with a Gaussian distribution of
ady state stresses to become elastic [1]. surface heights (rather then asperity heights) and of
Even before the well-known classic work of Green- asperity peak curvatures. Gupta and Cook [58] permitted
wood and Williamson, a linear distribution of heights of the tip heights to be Gaussian distributed whereas the
aligned spherical asperities asperity radii were log-normally distributed. Nayak [59]
considered a more sophisticated statistical model which
2 characterizes a random surface by three spectral
p(z) 2(Lz), 0zL (23)
L moments of the profile: m0, m2, and m4, which are equiv-
G.G. Adams, M. Nosonovsky / Tribology International 33 (2000) 431442 437

alent to the variances of the distribution of profile model and his results demonstrated very good agreement
heights, slopes, and curvature respectively. This leads to with those of the simpler GW model. He showed also
a distribution of peak heights which is different from that the separation d in the GW asperity model can be
Gaussian. The summits are regarded as elliptical parab- related to the separation h of the Bush et al. surface
oloids with principal curvatures 1 and 2 in two orthog- microgeometry model by

onal directions. The mean curvature is not constant but 1/2
varies with summit heights, higher summits have larger m0
hd4 (29)
mean curvature. The bandwidth parameter pa
m0 m 4
a 2 (28) Ju and Farris [69] applied spectral analysis methods
and the Fast Fourier Transform (FFT) to characterize a
is introduced, and it is shown that the real contact area surface in two-dimensional contact problems. Bjorklund
at a given separation depends only on a, while the load [70] developed a contact model of one rough and one
depends on both a and m2. Bush et al. [60] used the perfectly flat elastic surface with random asperity height
Nayak microgeometery assumptions to develop an elas- distribution, which assumed that some asperities are in
tic contact model which treated asperities as elliptical stick contact while others are in slip contact, depending
paraboloids with random principal axis orientations and on asperity height. Hagman and Olofsson [71] con-
aspect ratio. OCallaghan and Cameron [61] and Francis sidered a model for micro-slip between contacting sur-
[62] extended the Bush et al. model for the case in which faces based on deformation of elliptical elastic asperities.
both surfaces are rough and asperities need not contact at
their summits. They obtained corresponding equivalent
3.1.2. Plastic and elasticplastic contacts
values for m0, m2, and m4 which reduce this case to that
The basic plastic contact model is an outgrowth of the
of one smooth and one rough surface. They concluded
profilometric model by Abbot and Firestone [72]. The
that this type of contact is negligibly different from the
deformation of a rough surface against a flat is treated
GW model.
as the truncation of the rough surface at its intersection
Tallian [63] developed a model for strongly aniso-
with the flat. The true area of contact is the geometric
tropic surfaces in which the surface is modeled as a ran-
intersection of the flat surface with the original profile
dom process with Gaussian distributed heights, and
of the rough one. The pressure in the contact area is
found that surface frequency and not just roughness
just the indentation hardness, and thus the total load is
determine the contact behavior. Hisakado [64] pointed
proportional to the true contact area. Nayak [73] applied
out that a Gaussian distribution of asperity heights and
his random process profile model [59] to this plas-
curvatures for a given asperity shape may lead to a non-
ticity model.
Gaussian distribution of the surface height, which is
Pullen and Williamson [74] assumed that the area of
unrealistic for most engineering surfaces. He considered
contact is the geometrical intersection of the two sur-
a parabolic and a conical asperity shape. Bush et al. [65]
faces and that volume conservation during plastic defor-
considered a rough surface with a random anisotropic
mation is obtained by a uniform rise of the noncontacting
distribution of asperity radii. Such a distribution is
surface. These assumptions may be correct for very
characterized by nine values of mij known as bispectral
heavily loaded contacts. An elasticplastic model based
moments. Compared with the asymptotic solution for the
on volume conservation of an asperity control volume
isotropic case, their model gives a contact area which is
during plastic deformation, was introduced by Chang,
2% lower. Sayles and Thomas [66] investigated a devi-
Etsion, and Bogy (CEB) [15]. The contact area, force,
ation from isotropy which they called elliptic ani-
and interference for a single asperity are related by
sotropy. This term implies that contact spots have the
form of randomly oriented ellipses; their results for the
contact area are somewhat lower than that obtained with
the Bush et al. model.
ApRd 2 dC
, PAKH, ddC (30)

McCool [67] investigated the limit of applicability of where dC is the critical interference at the inception of
elastic contact models of rough surfaces, using a plane plastic deformation and K relates the mean contact press-
strain solution from the literature for a sinusoidally cor- ure to the hardness [15]. For an interference less then
rugated half-space. The range of validity of the assump- the critical value, the contact is elastic, while for ddC
tions that the asperities are micro-Hertzian (i.e. that they the contact is plastic. They used the single asperity
can be approximated by a second order polynomial in results to develop a multi-asperity model for elastic
the vicinity of the contact point) and that the asperities plastic deformation using assumptions similar to those of
deform elastically was shown to be related to the mean the GW model. An elasticplastic contact model which
square surface slope and to the macro-contact pressure. generalizes the CEB model by taking into account the
McCool [68] also considered a general anisotropic directional nature of surface roughness and by consider-
438 G.G. Adams, M. Nosonovsky / Tribology International 33 (2000) 431442

ing contact spots of elliptic form was proposed by Horng D and G, where c2 is a function of the strain hardening
[75]. Zhao et al. [76] developed a multi-asperity model and creep exponents. In the case of perfectly plastic
which incorporates the transition from elastic defor- behavior they find that the contact pressure reduces to
mation to fully plastic flow. the hardness value for both the stochastic and fractal
models. However for hardening materials, the slope of
3.1.3. Fractal analysis the contact area versus loading curve increases with the
In the past years models with fractal surface geo- load for the fractal model and is in contrast to the stoch-
metries have been developed which are based on the pre- astic model. The nominal pressure based on this fractal
sumption that surface geometry replicates itself at differ- model does not converge unless the fractal dimension is
ent length scales. However, long before the discovery of less then a certain number, which may indicate that the
fractal objects by mathematicians in the 1970s, Archard fractal model is not sufficiently developed at this point.
[77] investigated a model of equidistant spherical Warren and Krajcinovic [81] introduced a model for
asperities of the same radius R1, which have asperities elasticperfectly plastic contact of rough surfaces based
of a smaller radius R2 on their surface, which in turn on the random Cantor set. Polonsky and Keer [82] stud-
have even smaller asperities of radius R3. Based on the ied scale effects in elasticplastic asperity contacts.
Hertzian elastic model, he calculated the dependence of Othmani and Kaminsky [83] as well as Podsiadlo and
the true contact zone on the load for one, two, and three Stachowiak [84] developed experimental techniques to
sets of the asperities. The results for the contact of a measure fractal parameters of a surface.
plane and a sphere are
3.2. Coupled contact models
ACP2/3, ACP8/9, ACP26/27 (31)
and for the contact of one smooth and one rough plane 3.2.1. Analytical models
The coupled contact problems with asperities are more
ACP4/5, ACP14/15, ACP44/45 (32) complicated mathematically since the equations of elas-
ticity must be solved in the whole body and thus the
boundary conditions, both unmixed and mixed, must be
These dependencies tend to converge to a linear
applied to the entire surface. Therefore, in addition to
dependence as the order of the asperities is increased.
the non-mixed boundary conditions (e.g. continuity of
It is known that surface roughness measurements
the normal and shearing stresses and Coloumbs friction
depend on the resolution of the measuring instrument
law), two mixed boundary conditions must be applied.
and hence traditional roughness data is scale-dependent.
Namely, normal displacements are continuous in the
Unlike statistical models, modern fractal models account
contact zone(s) and the normal stress vanishes in the sep-
for the multi-scale nature of surfaces. Fractal analysis
aration zone(s). Instead of a random distribution of
characterizes surface roughness by two scale-inde-
asperity heights only periodic interface profiles, e.g.
pendent parameters D and G, where D relates to distri-
sinusoidal, are considered with this approach. Usually
butions of different frequencies in the surface profile and
these problems are solved by using the Greens function
G to the magnitude of variations at all frequencies. The
method, by applying series techniques, or by a complex
fractal dimension D is in the range 1D2. Borodich
potential method, and lead to singular integral equations
and Mosolov [78] studied a model for flat perfectly plas-
for the contact pressure distribution. It is possible to
tic asperities based on a Cantor set of repeatedly magni-
show that the problem with two elastic bodies in contact
fied scales. Majumdar and Bhushan [79] considered a
can be reduced to an equivalent problem with one rigid
three-dimensional surface model based on the Weier-
body and one elastic body with effective material para-
strassMandelbrot wave function. In order to handle this
function, a first approximation was considered. This
The frictionless two-dimensional elastic contact prob-
model also introduces a critical area for plastic defor-
lem for a surface loaded by a periodic system of rigid
mation which is a function of D, G, the hardness, and
flat punches was solved for the contact pressure by
the moduli of elasticity of the bodies.
Sadowsky [85]. Westergaard [86] used the complex
Larsson et al. [80] investigated the inelastic flattening
stress function technique to obtain a closed-form sol-
of rough surfaces and compared the results of stochastic
ution for the two-dimensional frictionless contact prob-
and fractal models. For the fractal model they obtained
lem of an elastic half-space with a wavy sinusoidal inter-
a non-linear relation between the impression depth h and
face (Fig. 4). He showed that the normal stresses at the
the area of true contact
contact zone of the surface are given by

hGD1 A 2
pc D 1D/2
(33) syyC cos x(sin2a sin2x)1/2
where C is a constant depending on the load and geo-

which includes two scale-independent fractal parameters metric parameters of the profile and a is the half-contact
G.G. Adams, M. Nosonovsky / Tribology International 33 (2000) 431442 439

dimensional waviness. At light loads the contact area is

approximately circular and the Hertz theory can be
applied. When contact is almost complete, the separation
zones are almost circular and behave like pressurized
penny-shaped cracks. As the load is increased, the
numerical analysis demonstrates a change of the contact
area from almost circular to almost square, then to separ-
ation areas which are nearly circular, and finally to the
complete contact

3.2.2. Experimental results

The effect of interaction between neighboring asperity
contacts was studied by Leibensperger and Brittain [98]
using photoelasticity. HandzelPowierza et al. [99] veri-
fied experimentally the GW model and obtained good
agreement with the theory within the range of elastic
Fig. 4. Contact of a wavy elastic half-space with a flat elastic half- deformations and for quasi-isotropic surfaces. A number
space. of experimental tests (see Woo and Thomas, [100]) of
statistical and fractal models have been made as well as
measurements of the topography of surfaces by stylus,
width. Eq. (34) yields a relation between the load and
the half-width of the contact area, i.e. optical methods, or electrical contact, and by scanning
tunnelling microscopy methods.
(1 cos a), (35)
4. Frictional sliding contacts

As for the Hertz contact problem, two-dimensional elas- The relative sliding motion of two surfaces is resisted
ticity does not allow for the solution of the interference. by a tangential force which is called the friction force.
Another approach to the mixed boundary conditions The ratio of this tangential force to the normal force is
is to use a series technique. Thus the Westergaard prob- called the coefficient of kinetic friction (m). Although
lem was solved by Dundurs et al. [87] using Legendre this coefficient can easily be determined experimentally,
polynomials. The complex potential approach and inte- the mechanics of contact and friction is quite complex
gral equation method were used by Soviet researchers as friction is a consequence of many interacting phenom-
Muskhelishvili [88,89], Shtaerman [90], Lurie [91], and ena. Basically the friction force is attributed to tangential
Galin [4]. Shtaerman [90] showed that the frictionless adhesion forces. Thus the friction force should be pro-
periodic contact problem can be reduced to a singular portional to the real area of contact. As has been pre-
integral equation which can be solved analytically for viously mentioned, this proportionality is nearly true for
sinusoidal waviness. Kuznetzov [92] obtained a solution the static contact of elastic and plastically deforming
to the Westergaard problem using an alternative method. asperities. A complete review of friction is well beyond
The limits of applicability of uncoupled models for a the scope of this work. The reader is referred to the
sinusoidal profile was investigated by Berthe and Vergne review article by Tabor [49] and the monograph of Rabi-
[93] utilizing the results of Westergaard [86]. nowicz [101]. A recent paper by Bengisu and Akay
With steady sliding and AmontonsCoulomb friction [102] develops a model for dry friction based upon
included in the analysis, a solution is also possible. Kuz- asperity interactions and adhesion forces. For reviews of
netzov [94] considered the frictional (low velocity) slid- dynamic friction see Oden and Martins [103] and Mar-
ing problem by using a complex potential which reduced tins et al. [104]. The following summarizes one interest-
to the Westergaards solution in the case of zero friction. ing aspect of dynamic contact.
Results were obtained only for contact pressures.
Nosonovsky and Adams [95] solved the frictional con- 4.1. Dynamic instabilities in sliding contacts
tact problem with a sinusoidal contact profile for arbi-
trary sliding velocities. Recent analysis as well as simulations have disco-
Manners [96] obtained a solution of the problem with- vered dynamic instabilities in frictional sliding contacts.
out friction for periodic profiles with higher harmonics These instabilities raise issues about the nature of
of waviness. Johnson et al. [97] obtained a numerical dynamic sliding and, perhaps more importantly from a
solution, as well as asymptotic solutions for small and practical point of view, influence the predicted tangential
large zones of contact for the frictionless case of two- contact forces.
440 G.G. Adams, M. Nosonovsky / Tribology International 33 (2000) 431442

Martins et al. [105] investigated the sliding of elastic of different material properties, satisfy Coulombs fric-
and viscoelastic half-spaces against a rigid surface. tion inequality at their common interface, and are sub-
Dynamic instabilities were found for cases in which the jected to applied normal and shear stresses which are
friction coefficient and the Poissons ratio were large. insufficient to produce global slipping. No distinction is
These instabilities were thought to play a role in Schalla- made between static and kinetic friction, and the friction
mach waves [106]. In another investigation, Adams coefficient is speed-independent. Although Coulombs
[107] showed that the steady sliding of two elastic half- inequality is satisfied at the interface, the force necessary
spaces is also dynamically unstable, even at low sliding to produce relative motion is less than would be pre-
speeds. The instability mechanism is essentially one of dicted by Coulombs law.
slip-wave destabilization. Steady-state sliding is shown Adams [114] also investigated the role of elastic body
to give rise to a dynamic instability in the form of self- waves in the sliding of an elastic half-space against a
excited motion. These self-excited oscillations are gener- rigid surface and in the sliding of two elastic half-spaces
ally confined to a region near the sliding interface and [115]. It was shown that steady sliding is compatible
can eventually lead to either partial loss-of-contact or to with the formation of a pair of body waves (a plane dila-
propagating regions of stickslip motion. The existence tational wave and a plane shear wave) radiated from the
of these instabilities does not depend upon a friction sliding interface. These waves radiate energy allowing
coefficient which decreases with increasing speed, nor for sliding to occur with less energy dissipated due to
does it require a nonlinear contact model as with Martins frictional heating than is supplied through the work done
and Oden [104]. These analytical results are consistent by the external forces.
with the numerical simulations of Andrews and Ben
Zion [108]. In a different investigation, Adams [109]
uses a simple beam-on-elastic-foundation model in order 5. Conclusions
to investigate instabilities caused by sliding of a rough
surface on a smooth surface. The mechanism of insta- Contact modeling, with an emphasis on forces rather
bility in that investigation is due to the interaction of a than stresses, has been reviewed. Contact modeling has
complex mode of vibration with the sliding friction been divided into two distinct phases the contact of a
force. single asperity and the combined effects of a great many
Adams [110] then investigated the sliding of two dis- contacts. Included are effects of elastic and plastic defor-
similiar elastic bodies due to periodic regions of slip and mations, depthdependent plasticity models, tangential
stick propagating along the interface. It was found that loading, non-Hertzian geometries, and adhesion. Multi-
such motion, which results from a self-excited insta- asperity contact models include uncoupled contact mod-
bility, allows for the interface sliding conditions to differ els, fractal contact models, and convention coupled con-
from the observed sliding conditions. In particular an tact models. Experimental verifications are also briefly
interface coefficient of friction (the ratio of interface discussed. Future work in contact modeling should
shear stress to normal stress) and an apparent coefficient address issues at the nanometer scale (including nano-
of friction (ratio of remote shear to normal stress) were meter scale plasticity and effects of contaminant films)
defined. The interface friction coefficient can be constant and contact dynamics.
or an increasing/decreasing function of slip velocity.
However the apparent coefficient of friction is less than
the interface friction coefficient. Furthermore the appar- Acknowledgements
ent coefficient of friction can decrease with sliding speed
even though the interface friction coefficient is constant. The authors are grateful to the National Science Foun-
Thus the measured coefficient of friction does not neces- dation for its support under Grant No. CMS-9622196 of
sarily represent the behavior of the sliding interface. the Surface Engineering and Tribology Program.
Also the presence of slip waves may make it possible
for two frictional bodies to slide without a resisting shear
stress and without any interface separation. In the limit
as the slip region becomes very small compared to the
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