Autocorrelation Length (ACL) is a surface roughness parameter that provides spatial information of surface topography that is not included in amplitude parameters such as Root Mean Square roughness. This paper presents a statistical relation between ACL and the real area of contact, which is used to study the adhesive friction behavior of a rough surface. The influence of ACL on profile peak distribution is studied based on Whitehouse and Archard’s classical analysis, and their results are extended to compare profiles from different surfaces. With the knowledge of peak distribution, the real area of contact of a rough surface with a flat surface can be calculated using Hertzian contact mechanics. Numerical calculation shows that real area of contact increases with decreasing of ACL under the same normal load. Since adhesive friction force is proportional to real area of contact, this suggests that the adhesive friction behavior of a surface will be inversely proportional to its ACL. Results from microscale friction experiments on polished and etched silicon surfaces are presented to verify the analysis.

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