Meeting the Contact-Mechanics Challenge

MH Muser and WB Dapp and R Bugnicourt and P Sainsot and N Lesaffre and TA Lubrecht and BNJ Persson and K Harris and A Bennett and K Schulze and S Rohde and P Ifju and WG Sawyer and T Angelini and HA Esfahani and M Kadkhodaei and S Akbarzadeh and JJ Wu and G Vorlaufer and A Vernes and S Solhjoo and AI Vakis and RL Jackson and Y Xu and J Streator and A Rostami and D Dini and S Medina and G Carbone and F Bottiglione and L Afferrante and J Monti and L Pastewka and MO Robbins and JA Greenwood, TRIBOLOGY LETTERS, 65, 118 (2017).

DOI: 10.1007/s11249-017-0900-2

This paper summarizes the submissions to a recently announced contact- mechanics modeling challenge. The task was to solve a typical, albeit mathematically fully defined problem on the adhesion between nominally flat surfaces. The surface topography of the rough, rigid substrate, the elastic properties of the indenter, as well as the short-range adhesion between indenter and substrate, were specified so that diverse quantities of interest, e.g., the distribution of interfacial stresses at a given load or the mean gap as a function of load, could be computed and compared to a reference solution. Many different solution strategies were pursued, ranging from traditional asperity-based models via Persson theory and brute-force computational approaches, to real-laboratory experiments and all-atom molecular dynamics simulations of a model, in which the original assignment was scaled down to the atomistic scale. While each submission contained satisfying answers for at least a subset of the posed questions, efficiency, versatility, and accuracy differed between methods, the more precise methods being, in general, computationally more complex. The aim of this paper is to provide both theorists and experimentalists with benchmarks to decide which method is the most appropriate for a particular application and to gauge the errors associated with each one.

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