Abstract

Fractal mathematics using the Weierstrass-Mandelbrot (WM) function has spread to many fields of science and engineering. One of these is the fractal characterization of rough surfaces, which has gained ample acceptance in the area of contact mechanics. That is, a single mathematical expression (the WM function) contains characteristics that mimic the appearance of roughness. Moreover, the “roughness” is “similar” across large dimension scales ranging from macro to nano. The field of contact mechanics is largely divided into two schools of thought: (1) the roughness of real surfaces is essentially random, for which stochastic treatment is appropriate, and (2) surface roughness can be reduced to fractal mathematics using fractal parameters. Under certain mathematical constraints, the WM function is either stochastic or deterministic. The latter has the appeal that it contains no randomness, so fractal mathematics may offer closed-form solutions. Spectral moments of rough surfaces still apply to both approaches, as these represent physical metrology properties of the surface standard deviation, slope, and curvature. In essence, spectral moments provide a means of data reduction so that other physical processes can subsequently be applied. It is well known, for example, that the contact model of rough surfaces, by Greenwood and Williamson (GW), depends on parameters that are direct outcomes of these moments. Despite the vast amount of publications on the WM function dedicated to surfaces, two papers stand out as originators, where the others mostly rework their results. These two papers, however, contain some omissions and approximations that may lead to gross errors in the estimation of the spectral moments. The current work revisits these papers and adds information, but departs in the mathematical treatment to derive exact expressions for the said moments. Moreover, it is said that the WM function is nondifferential. That is also revisited herein, as another approach to derive the spectral moments depends on such derivatives. First, the complete mathematical treatment of the WM function is made, then the spectral moments are derived to yield exact forms, and finally, examples are given where the physical meanings of the approximate and exact moments are discussed and their values are compared. Numerical procedures will be introduced for both, and the effectiveness of the computational effort is discussed. One numerical procedure is particularly effective for any digitized signal, whether that originates from analytical functions (e.g., WM) or real surface measurements.

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