Effects of friction on the contact and deformation behavior in sliding asperity contacts

H. Zhang, L. Chang, M. N. Webster, A. Jackson

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Finite- element analyses are carried out to study the effects of friction on the contact and deformation behavior of sliding asperity contacts. In the analysis, an elastic-perfectly-plastic asperity is brought in contact with a rigid flat at a given normal approach. Two critical values of the normal approach are used to describe the asperity deformation. One is the approach corresponding to the point of initial plastic yielding, and the other at the point of full plastic jlow. Additional variables used to characterize the deformation behavior include the shape and size of the plastic zone and the asperity contact size, pressure, and load capacity. Results from the finite-element analysis show that the two values of critical normal approach decrease significantly as the friction in the contact increases, particularly the approach that causes plastic jlow of the asperity. The size of the plastically deformed zone is reduced by the friction when the contact becomes fully plastic. The reduction is very considerable with a high friction coefficient, and the plastic deformation is largely confined to a small thin surface layer. For a low friction coefficient, the contact size, pressure and load capacity of the asperity are not very sensitive to the friction coefficient. For a moderate friction coefficient, the contact pressure is reduced and the junction size increased; the load capacity of the asperity is not significantly affected due to the compensating effects of the pressure reduction and the junction growth. For a high friction coefficient, the pressure-junction compensation is no longer sufficient and the asperity load capacity is reduced. The degree of the friction effects on these contact variables depends on the applied force or the normal approach. Although the analyses are conducted using a line-contact model the authors believe that the effects of friction in sliding asperity contacts of three-dimensional geometry are essentially the same and the same conclusions would have been reached. These results may provide some guidance to the modeling of rough surfaces in boundary lubrication, in which the asperity friction coefficient can be high and vary significantly both in time and from one micro-contact to another.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)514-521
Number of pages8
JournalTribology Transactions
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jan 1 2003

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Mechanics of Materials
  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Surfaces and Interfaces
  • Surfaces, Coatings and Films


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