Limits of applicability of elastic contact models of rough surfaces

John I. McCool

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


Recent stochastic models for analyzing the contact of rough surfaces assume that the asperities are microhertzian, i.e. that they can be approximated as second-order surfaces in the vicinity of contact points, and that the asperities deform elastically. Using a plane strain solution from the literature for a sinusoidally corrugated half-space, the range of validity of these assumptions is shown to be related to the mean square surface slope and the macrocontact pressure. By extension to random surfaces characterized by a one-dimensional spectral density function an interval on the surface spatial frequency is found over which the asperities deform elastically but without completely flattening. A numerical example is given.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)105-118
Number of pages14
Issue number1
StatePublished - Apr 1 1983

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Mechanics of Materials
  • Surfaces and Interfaces
  • Surfaces, Coatings and Films
  • Materials Chemistry


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