The elastic-plastic contact between a deformable sphere and a rigid flat during pre-sliding is studied experimentally. Measurements of friction force and contact area are done in real time along with an accurate identification of the instant of sliding inception. The static friction force and relative tangential displacement are investigated over a wide range of normal preloads for several sphere materials and diameters. It is found that at low normal loads the static friction coefficient depends on the normal load in breach of the classical laws of friction. The pre-sliding displacement is found to be less than 5 percent of the contact diameter, and the interface mean shear stress at sliding inception is found to be slightly below the shear strength of the sphere material. Good correlation is found between the present experimental results and a recent theoretical model in the elastic-plastic regime of deformation.

This content is only available via PDF.
You do not currently have access to this content.