Measurement and Modeling of Normal Contact Stiffness and Contact Damping at the Meso Scale Academic Article uri icon


  • Modeling of contact interfaces that inherently include roughness such as joints, clamping devices, and robotic contacts, is very important in many engineering applications. Accurate modeling of such devices requires knowledge of contact parameters such as contact stiffness and contact damping, which are not readily available. In this paper, an experimental method based on contact resonance is developed to extract the contact parameters of realistic rough surfaces under lightly loaded conditions. Both Hertzian spherical contacts and flat rough surfaces in contact under normal loads of up to 1000 mN were studied. Due to roughness, measured contact stiffness values are significantly lower than theoretical values predicted from smooth surfaces in contact. Also, the measured values favorably compare with theoretical values based on both Hertzian and rough contact surfaces. Contact damping ratio values were found to decrease with increasing contact load for both Hertzian and flat surfaces. Furthermore, Hertzian contacts have larger damping compared to rough flat surfaces, which also agrees with the literature. The presence of minute amount of lubricant and wear debris at the interface was also investigated. It was found that both lubricant and wear debris decrease the contact stiffness significantly though only the lubricant significantly increases the damping. Copyright © 2005 by ASME.

author list (cited authors)

  • Shi, X. i., & Polycarpou, A. A.

citation count

  • 111

publication date

  • February 2005