Skip to main content
The effect of autocorrelation length on the real area of contact and friction behavior of rough surfaces
Journal of Applied Physics
  • Yilei Zhang, Iowa State University
  • Sriram Sundararajan, Iowa State University
Document Type
Publication Date
Autocorrelation length (ACL) is a surface roughness parameter that provides spatial information of surfacetopography that is not included in amplitude parameters such as root-mean-square roughness. This paper presents a relationship between ACL and the friction behavior of a rough surface. The influence of ACL on the peak distribution of a profile is studied based on Whitehouse and Archard’s classical analysis [Whitehouse and ArchardProc. R. Soc. London, Ser. A316, 97 (1970)] and their results are extended to compare profiles from different surfaces. The probability density function of peaks and the mean peak height of a profile are given as functions of its ACL. These results are used to estimate the number of contact points when a rough surface comes into contact with a flat surface, and it is shown that the larger the ACL of the rough surface, the less the number of contact points. Based on Hertzian contact mechanics, it is shown that the real area of contact increases with increasing of number of contact points. Since adhesivefriction force is proportional to the real area of contact, this suggests that the adhesivefriction behavior of a surface will be inversely proportional to its ACL. Results from microscale friction experiments on polished and etchedsiliconsurfaces are presented to verify the analysis.

The following article appeared in Journal of Applied Physics 97 (2005): 103526, doi:10.1063/1.1914947.

Copyright 2005 American Institute of Physics. This article may be downloaded for personal use only. Any other use requires prior permission of the author and the American Institute of Physics.
Copyright Owner
American Institute of Physics
File Format
Citation Information
Yilei Zhang and Sriram Sundararajan. "The effect of autocorrelation length on the real area of contact and friction behavior of rough surfaces" Journal of Applied Physics Vol. 97 Iss. 10 (2005) p. 103526
Available at: