Surface topography has long been considered a key factor in the performance of many contact applications. However, essentially all analytical and numerical contact models either neglect surface topography or make simplifications and assumptions about the nature of the surface which limit the quality of the models. This work presents a method for creating surface geometry by importing surface metrology data into a commercial finite element program. The measured surface geometry is then combined with a multi-scale thermal/structural finite element model to demonstrate the impact of geometric surface assumptions on the prediction of thermal contact resistance.

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