Distance upon contact: Determination from roughness profile

P.J. van Zwol, Vitaly Svetovoy, G. Palasantzas

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    The point at which two random rough surfaces make contact takes place at the contact of the highest asperities. The distance upon contact d0 in the limit of zero load has crucial importance for determination of dispersive forces. Using gold films as an example we demonstrate that for two parallel plates d0 is a function of the nominal size of the contact area L and give a simple expression for d0(L) via the surface roughness characteristics. In the case of a sphere of fixed radius R and a plate the scale dependence manifests itself as an additional uncertainty δd(L) in the separation, where the scale L is related with the separation d via the effective area of interaction L2∼πRd. This uncertainty depends on the roughness of interacting bodies and disappears in the limit L→∞.
    Original languageUndefined
    Article number10.1103/PhysRevB.80.235401
    Pages (from-to)235401
    Number of pages5
    JournalPhysical review B: Condensed matter and materials physics
    Issue number23
    Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2009


    • EWI-17170
    • IR-69465
    • METIS-264315

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