Statistical and fractal approaches for characterizing surface topography have been used widely in contact mechanics. In the present study, an attempt is made to compare between contact mechanics results obtained with statistical and fractal approaches to characterize surface topography. Specifically, a three-dimensional fractal surface was generated and statistical surface parameters were extracted using different sampling resolutions. Contact mechanics simulations were performed using the simulated fractal surface and statistical surfaces represented by the extracted statistical surface parameters. Purely elastic contact is studied in order to eliminate the influence of the individual asperity mechanical response on the obtained results. Therefore, differences in the simulated contact area and load can be related solely to the different approach employed for surface characterization. The influence of surface characterization approaches on the contact parameters and the resulting predictions is discussed in the contents of the presented results.

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