When contact problems are solved by numerical approaches, the surface profile is usually described by a series of discrete nodes with the same intervals along the coordinate axis. An adaptive-surface-based elasto-plastic asperity contact model is presented in this paper. Such a model is developed in order to reduce the computing time by removing the surface nodes that have little influence on the contact behavior of rough surfaces. The removed nodes are determined by setting a threshold. Thus, the contact problems can be described by fewer surface nodes but have similar results to the ones of the original surface. The adaptive asperity contact model is solved by using the element-free Galerkin-finite element (EFG-FE) coupling method because of its flexibility in domain descritization and versatility in node arrangements. The effects of different thresholds on the contact pressure distributions, real contact area, and the elasto-plastic stress fields in the contacting bodies are investigated and discussed. The results show that the computational time will dramatically reduce to about 50% when the relative error is about 5%.

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