The mean square slope m2 and curvature m4 of surface profiles are characteristics that depend upon the frequency content of the roughness. Together with the mean square profile height m0 they determine the microgeometrical behaviour of contacting rough surfaces. It is shown that in the absence of quantization error, the error due to finite sample spacing in estimating these spectral moments for a sinusoid is negligible when more than 8 points per cycle are used. In the presence of quantization error, large potential overestimates of m2 and m4 can occur. The error decreases initially with increased sample spacing and then increases. The severity of the distortion is shown to increase as the peak-to-peak range of the sine wave decreases relative to the full range of the a/d converter used in the digitization process.
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