Almost all technical devices in use today are assemblies of individual pieces. For all force-based assembly methods, such as bolting or press-fitting, the thermal behavior is influenced by the contact resistance at the joint surface. For metal pieces in contact with each other, the authors have developed a measurement method and analysis tools enabling the determination of the contact heat transfer coefficient. Previously published results [1, 2, 3] have shown the dependence of the contact heat transfer coefficient on surface structure, contact pressure and material properties. The present work provides experimental and analytical data for the contact heat transfer coefficient and also proposes a model for calculating the real contact area of two surfaces which are placed under different contact pressures. Experiments were conducted for two material combinations with three different surface structures, while varying the contact pressures from 7 MPa to 230 MPa. When selecting average surface roughness (Rz) as a characterizing parameter for surface structure, the results did not show a consistent trend. Thus, in this paper Rz was replaced by the real contact area between the two surfaces of interest. This area was determined by applying a refined method based on surface roughness measurements. The experimental data show a better consistency, when plotting the contact heat transfer coefficient relative to real contact area (Fk) rather than the previously used Rz–values.

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