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How can the effect of particle surface roughness on the contact area be predicted?

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Sadegh NadimiORCiD, Vasileios AngelidakisORCiD



This paper describes a systematic study of the effect of fractal rough surfaces on the contact area with the aim of advancing contact constitutive laws used in the Discrete Element Method. An in-house Boundary Element code is adopted to investigate the mechanical behaviour of computer-generated surface roughness. Surfaces are generated to have methodically controlled root mean square height (Sq), root mean square gradient (Sdq), short wavevector (q0), large wavevector (q1), Hurst exponent (H) and fractal dimension (Df). The effect of each parameter on the contact area is investigated. Two recently proposed analytical solutions in tribology (i.e. Persson-Tosatti and Pastewka-Robbins) are applied to predict the real contact area. A parameter based on Sq, q0, and H is proposed and its sensitivity for real contact area prediction is demonstrated. Surfaces of natural sand are simulated and their mechanical response shows similar trend as the computer-generated surfaces, albeit more complex.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Nadimi S, Angelidakis V, Otsubo M, Ghanbarzadeh A

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Computers and Geotechnics

Year: 2022

Volume: 150

Print publication date: 01/10/2022

Online publication date: 12/07/2022

Acceptance date: 25/06/2022

Date deposited: 01/08/2022

ISSN (print): 0266-352X

ISSN (electronic): 1873-7633

Publisher: Elsevier


DOI: 10.1016/j.compgeo.2022.104890


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Funder referenceFunder name
IEC\R3\183026Royal Society