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Numerical Simulation of 3D Rough Surfaces and Analysis of Interfacial Contact Characteristics

Guoqing Yang1, Baotong Li2,3, Yang Wang2, Jun Hong2
College of Electromechanical Engineering, Hunan University of Science and Technology, Xiangtan 411201, Hunan, P. R. China.
State Key Laboratory for Manufacturing Systems Engineering, Xi’an Jiaotong University, Xi’an 710049, P. R. China.

Computer Modeling in Engineering & Sciences 2014, 103(4), 251-279.


Mechanical behaviors arising at the contact interface largely depend on its surface topographies, particularly when it comes to rough surfaces. A numerical simulation based on an appropriate characterization of rough surfaces especially in terms of three dimensional can be of great significance when it comes to capturing the deformation patterns of micro-scale contacts. In this paper, a simple and practical scheme is developed to generate 3D rough surfaces and to analyze and evaluate the contact characteristics. Firstly amplitude and spatial statistical characterizations of asperities are introduced to avert from the redundancy of topography data caused by traditional measuring methods. A calculation strategy is then proposed to transform varied white noise sequences into the Gaussian and non-Gaussian height sequences, in which operations like translating scaling and spatial reconfiguring are utilized to guarantee that the output first four moments are satisfied with the requirements given in advance. After that a more accurate FE model is developed to handle the problem that the asperities are so acute and tiny that can give rise to highly unstable data, in which a new meshing strategy is put forward to improve the mesh quality and solution efficiency. Finally, the simulation results are obtained through analyzing the contact characteristics of the established models. The unique feature of the proposed method is not only being capable of generating rough surfaces with any skewness and kurtosis in the whole skewnesskurtosis plane, but also narrowing down the errors of statistical characterization like the skewness and kurtosis to the level of 10-2 which is a highly accurate estimation in terms of the output first four moments and autocorrelation functions (ACFs). The proposed methods for numerical simulation of rough surfaces can provide massive and accurate surface topography data with a small amount of computational resources, based on which, FEM is adopted to precisely evaluate the contact characteristics including load-deformation relationship, the contact pressure distribution, the real contact area and the interfacial loading/unloading characteristics, and therefore is a good choice for the study on the contact characteristics of rough surfaces.


Surface topography, Statistical characteristics, Numerical simulation, Autocorrelation function, Power spectral density, Fast Fourier Transform.

Cite This Article

Yang, G., Li, B., Wang, Y., Hong, J. (2014). Numerical Simulation of 3D Rough Surfaces and Analysis of Interfacial Contact Characteristics. CMES-Computer Modeling in Engineering & Sciences, 103(4), 251–279.

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License , which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
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