In view of the difficulty in measurement of temperature rise at the contact between sliding bodies with engineering scale roughness a good deal of theoretical work has been carried out in the last few decades. However, as surfaces become smoother and loading decreases in applications such as MEMS, NEMS and magnetic storage devices measurement of flash temperature becomes increasingly more difficult due to the nanometer scale asperity interactions. Consequently measurement of flash temperature at the nano-scale asperity contact has not yet been possible. The analysis of flash temperature rise under these circumstances is no less challenging since it must consider not only the small-scale asperity height distributions but also the surface forces those may operate at very small surface separations. The paper attempts to predict the flash temperature rise analytically using a fractal approach to describe the nano-scale asperity interactions at low loads and also taking into account the influence of relevant parameters including the surface forces. The results show in general that the contact surface temperature steadily increases with load, nano-scale roughness and surface forces. Interestingly, the fractal analysis presents a wide spectrum of solutions. While under certain combinations of fractal and material parameters extremely high contact temperature rise is predicted, under certain other parametric combinations extremely low temperature rise can be seen. The later parametric combination is certainly of much practical use.

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