Contact of rough surfaces with asymmetric distribution of asperity heights Academic Article uri icon


  • The Greenwood and Williamson (GW) statistical approach of characterizing rough surfaces is extended to include asymmetric distribution of asperity heights using the Weibull distribution. A key parameter that is used to characterize asymmetry is the skewness, and the corresponding Weibull parameters are investigated for a range of practical skewness values. The Weibull distribution is then adopted to model the asperity heights, and once normalized, is used to calculate the contact load, real area of contact and number of contacting asperities using the CEB elastic-plastic model of an equivalent rough surface in contact with a smooth plane. The effect of skewness on different levels of surface roughness, ranging from very smooth surfaces encountered in microtribological applications to rougher surfaces encountered in macrotribological applications is investigated, and also compared to the symmetric Gaussian case. Also, to allow for closed-form solution of the contact equations, simpler exponential distributions are curved-fitted to the contact side of the Weibull distribution, and the analytical results are favorably compared with the numerical results using the Weibull distribution.

published proceedings


author list (cited authors)

  • Yu, N., & Polycarpou, A. A.

citation count

  • 107

complete list of authors

  • Yu, N||Polycarpou, AA

publication date

  • April 2002