This work presents experimental contact stiffness measurements for various thin films as well as homogenous materials through pressing a flat punch onto a nominally flat rough surface. These materials are typically used in micro/nano technological applications with thickness of the order of few nanometers. The experimental contact stiffness results are compared with predictions by different statistical rough surface contact models to assess their predictive accuracy for thin-film applications and, in addition, to get better insight to the physics of the contact. It is observed that rough surface contact models that account for asperity interaction show good agreement with the experimental results of the thin-layered specimens contact response. This indicates the importance of accounting for asperity interaction in surface roughness contact modeling of relatively smooth thin-film materials. It is verified that interfaces with compliant films on stiff substrates as well as homogeneous materials compare relatively well with statistical models accounting for asperity interactions.

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