The use of the classical Coulomb law of friction in the formulation of contact problems in elasticity leads to both physical and mathematical difficulties; the former arises from the fact that this law provides a poor model of frictional stresses at points on metallic surfaces in contact, and the latter is due to the fact that the existence of solutions of the governing equations can be proved only for very special situations. In the present paper, nonclassical friction laws are proposed in an attempt to overcome both of these difficulties. We consider a class of contact problems involving the equilibrium of linearly elastic bodies in contact on surfaces on which nonlocal and nonlinear friction laws are assumed to hold. The physics of friction between metallic bodies in contact is discussed and arguments in support of the theory are presented. Variational principles for boundary-value problems in elasticity in which such nonlinear nonlocal laws hold are then developed. A brief discussion of the questions of existence and uniqueness of solutions to the nonlocal and nonlinear problems is given.

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