Modeling the effect of skewness and kurtosis on the static friction coefficient of rough surfaces Academic Article uri icon


  • Engineering surfaces possess roughnesses that exhibit asymmetrical height distributions. However, the Gaussian distribution is most often used to characterize the topography of surfaces, and is also used in models to predict contact and friction parameters. In this paper, the effects of kurtosis and skewness on different levels of surface roughness are investigated independently. This is accomplished by adopting the Pearson system of frequency curves and used in conjunction with a static friction model for rough surfaces to calculate the friction force and friction coefficient. This study is the first attempt to independently model the effect of kurtosis and skewness on the static friction and friction coefficient. It is predicted that surfaces with high kurtosis and positive skewness exhibit lower static friction coefficient compared to the Gaussian case. More importantly, it is predicted that, for high kurtosis values, the static friction coefficient decreases with decreasing external force rather than increasing as seen with increasing skewness. This is a very promising result for applications involving smooth lightly loaded contacts such as magnetic storage devices and microelectromechanical systems. The practical significance of the present model is specifically demonstrated on static friction predictions in magnetic storage head-disk interfaces. Such predictions can be used to determine the optimal characteristics of such devices prior to fabrication to achieve lower friction in terms of surface roughness, mechanical properties, apparent contact area, and operational environment. 2004 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

published proceedings


author list (cited authors)

  • Tayebi, N., & Polycarpou, A. A.

citation count

  • 146

complete list of authors

  • Tayebi, N||Polycarpou, AA

publication date

  • June 2004