This study investigates the effects of asperity interactions on the mean surface separation and the real contact area for rough surfaces with non-Gaussian height distributions. The effects of the asperity interactions on the local deformation behavior of a given micro-contact are modeled using the Saint-Venant principle and Love’s formula. The non-Gaussian rough surfaces are described by the Johnson translatory system. The results indicate that asperity interactions can significantly affect the mean separation of surfaces with non-Gaussian height distributions. The findings also reveal that the contact load and the real contact area of surfaces with non-Gaussian height distributions are significantly different from those of surfaces with Gaussian height distributions. This study uncovers that skewed surfaces tend to deform more elastically, which provides underlying physics for the long time conventional wisdom and recent experimental data [Tribol. Trans., 39, 354 (1996), 34; ASME J. Tribol., 126, 620 (2004), 25] that running-in surfaces have better wear resistance.

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